FOR THE JUNIOR Health Minister the Irish Times front page story that incorrectly stated that the first legal abortion had taken place in Dublin “wasn’t about the procedure” but “the invasion of privacy at a very delicate and difficult time for any family”.
On August 23, the paper reported that doctors at the National Maternity Hospital had carried out the country’s first termination under the provisions of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 – a claim that the Department of Health has refuted.
Minister of State at the Department of Health Kathleen Lynch told TheJournal.ie she found the paper’s story to be “appalling and scandalous”.
“It seems it’s okay to do it because there is a view out there that somehow it’s sensational or it’s something that we, the public, have a right to know. I don’t feel I have a right to know that”.
She believes that the government will have to look at the idea of “the public has a right to know” as “there are certain things that we don’t have a right to know and this was one of them.”
The Minister of State added the story could have jeopardised a family’s decision and she didn’t know of any other circumstance where that would have been allowed.
Obstetrician Dr Peter Boylan, Clinical Director at the Holles Street hospital was angered that patient details ended up in newspapers that could have revealed the woman’s identity. The hospital has since launched an internal investigation to discover the source of the leaked information.
The paper issued an apology in last Saturday’s edition, eight days later, in the right-hand corner of page seven. However, solicitor Simon McGarr said the apology was inadequate in the eyes of media regulations as it was not given “due prominence” in accordance with the “Code of Practice of the Press Council of Ireland”.
Here is Minister of State Kathleen Lynch speaking about The Irish Times article:
Originally published 20:30
- Camera and editing by Michelle Hennessey