Symphysiotomy: Truth must be revealed

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald spoke this week before the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva about the "dreadful situation of the survivors of symphysiotomy".

This was the deliberate breaking of a woman’s pelvis in order to facilitate childbirth.

The minister explained that the Government has decided to establish an ex-gratia scheme for the 350 surviving victims to avoid the necessity of litigation. Most of these women have rejected this form of the quiet redress, because they want the truth to be known and fully understood.

Some 1,500 Irish women were subjected to this procedure rather than having a caesarian section. The stories are horrific. Nigel Rodley, a former UN special reporter on torture, said that he has had trouble sleeping at night since hearing these stories.

Survivors are determined to ensure this never happens again to any woman. If such medical butchery had been properly exposed in the 1940s, much needless suffering might have been avoided. In addition to the proposed redress scheme, these women are due an apology as well as a formal acknowledgement that what was done to them was totally wrong.


A S the Joker would say, ‘Why so Series X?’ But the next generation of the Xbox isn’t a joke for Microsoft, who have ground to make up on Sony in the console wars. The Redmond team disappointed this generation, making early mistakes that gave Sony all the momentum.GameTech: Get ready for the new Xbox

Cork actor Eanna Hardwicke may have grown up with a Young Offenders star, but he is set to make a name for himself with a string of big roles, writes  Esther McCarthyEanna Hardwicke: Cork actor about to burst onto the big screen

Should we be putting haemorrhoid cream around our eyes? Short answer... Absolutely not.The Skin Nerd: Are celebrity skincare tips all a load of Bullocks?

Peter Dowdall reports on how Blarney Castle's famous yew has bewitched onlookers for six centuriesBewitched: Help Ireland's most popular tree get the vote in Europe

More From The Irish Examiner