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Taoiseach Enda Kenny Screengrab

Taoiseach won't comment on redress scheme for symphysiotomy victims

Enda Kenny also rejected that Government has been secretive on issue and commits to meeting support groups

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY says that the Government won’t give a commitment on the options available to the victims of symphysiotomy as  a report on the practice is due to be published as early as today.

The report on the outdated surgery was presented to the Department of Health in May and the Taoiseach said that the cabinet is to be briefed by Minister James Reilly before a decision is taken on what actions to take.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams questioned the Taoiseach about whether there will be appropriate consultation by government with the various support groups before a final decision is taken:

There is a difference between Government taking a decision and then meeting them to notifying them of the decision and consulting with a group before making that decision.

Adams said that many of the victims of the practice are elderly and have “waited a long time for justice”. He asked if Government recommendations will not only include a redress scheme but a mechanism where victims can take retrospective action through the courts.

Symphysiotomy is a procedure where the pelvic hinge is deliberately severed, and was carried out between 1942 and the late 1980s – purportedly to facilitate childbirth.

The Taoiseach responded to Deputy Adams by saying that, although he has not yet read the report, “it has always been the practice of Government to meet groups before a decision taken”. He said he could not guarantee that any Government decision would be made before the summer recess but to ‘take it from me’ that the Government will meet all support groups involved. He would not however comment on the various options the Government is considering in terms of redress.

The Taoiseach also rejected claims in the media that the Government was only talking to one group in particular.

Kenny also added that he had inherited a position where he has had to deal with a number of difficult issues, referencing the case of the Magdelene Laundries in particular.

Read: Symphysiotomy survivors want justice for ‘barbaric’ acts >

Read: Mixed response from symphysiotomy survivors to lifting statute of limitations >

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