The Department of Health must sign up to an international remembrance day for stillborn children, and establish a public register of the deaths if it wants to help families finally grieve over the "taboo" subject.
The call was made by Féileacáin, the stillbirth and neo-natal death association of Ireland, during the latest meeting of the Oireachtas health committee.
Speaking during a two- hour presentation to the cross-party group, people affected by the tragedies said files on the estimated 300- plus stillbirth deaths every year are “locked away” without any public access. They insisted the approach is endorsing a reluctance to discuss the issue publicly.
Féileacáin member Marie Cregan said families feel their heartache is “not understood”. She said the lack of a commitment from the Government to sign-up to an international remembrance day for stillborn babies every October 15 is further adding to “secrecy” surrounding the issue.
“People don’t understand. They think the baby didn’t open their eyes, so how can you be so attached,” said Ms Cregan.
“I lost my child seven years ago today. He was 16 weeks and his heart just stopped beating. In the past these babies were furtively buried, as if there was shame, a stigma.”
Speaking on behalf of the committee, chair and Fine Gael TD Jerry Buttimer said the group will recommend to Government that the Dáil places a candle at the front of Leinster House next October 15 in memory of the children who died.
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