Non-national birth figures held until after referendum, says Rabbitte

LABOUR PARTY leader Pat Rabbitte has accused the Government of withholding statistics he had requested on non-Irish hospital births until the referendum vote was over.

Figures released yesterday show that 4,625 babies were born to non-national mothers in Dublin’s three maternity hospitals in 2003.

There were 1,528 babies registered to Nigerian mothers, the highest non-Irish category.

A total of 631 babies were born to British mothers, 470 to Romanian women, 241 babies had Chinese mothers and 236 were born to women from the Philippines.

There were also a large number of babies born to women from the US, Canada, Australia, India, Pakistan and other African countries.

Mothers from almost every country in the enlarged European Union also gave birth in Ireland last year.

In Holles Street, 6,566 Irish mothers gave birth, compared to 1,812 non-nationals.

In the Rotunda, of the 6,789 babies born in 2003, 1,105 were to non-Irish mothers.

There were a total of 1,708 births to non-national mothers in the Coombe.

Mr Rabbitte said he had received the figures yesterday morning in a letter from the Eastern Regional Health Authority.

The letter came as a response to a question he submitted in March to the Minister for Health, Mícheál Martin, seeking the nationality of mothers giving birth in Dublin hospitals.

The letter to Mr Rabbitte was posted by the ERHA on June 11, the day of the citizenship referendum.

Mr Rabbitte accused the Government of being cynical and deliberately withholding the information he had requested until after the vote was held.

“It’s typical of the lack of accountability and the way that elected members of Dáil Éireann are treated by this Government. It was this arrogance that got them their comeuppance in the election,” Mr Rabbitte said.

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