Nationwide protest against maternity restrictions in Ireland 

The Association for Improvements in Maternity Services Ireland (AIMS Ireland) will be staging a series of small in-person actions tomorrow, Tuesday, May 11th. In Letterkenny, The NMH, The Coombe and Our Lady of Lourdes. Protesters will gather, socially distanced, outside of the hospitals from 11am to 1pm on a staggered basis to highlight maternity restrictions, not in keeping with national guidance,  which excludes partners from attending pregnancy appointments and the early stages of labour. 

The organization has been in contact with the Minister for Health, HSE and individual maternity units and hospital groups since March 2020 seeking that evidence which supports restrictions be published. AIMS Ireland, campaigning through #WhoseNeedsAreBeingMet on social media, have seen a public outpouring from women and their partners of their experiences. 

Krysia Lynch, Chair of AIMS Ireland, “There has never been any transparent publicly available risk assessment to prove that separating birthing people from their support person for early labour achieves benefits for anyone involved. In fact, the risk of fear, anxiety, interventions, physical and mental trauma are increased for mother and baby.”

She added: “We are in a difficult situation now with no one being willing to show leadership, take  responsibility or accept accountability. The Minister of Health insists it’s not in his remit, the HSE stated last week they don’t know what’s going on in each unit and it would appear the individual hospitals are not subject to any governance. We need constructive dialogue and a solution focused approach and we encourage the Minister of Health, The HSE, NWIHP and Hospital Group CEOs to come together to find an immediate resolution to this issue.“

Senator Eileen Flynn, who will attend the Letterkenny protest on Tuesday states,, “From being told bad news alone, to going through labour without support – there have been so many ways that women and pregnant people have been let down during this pandemic. Without the people who love us the most to hold our hand, facing it can seem like a terrifying, traumatising ordeal. Partners are not visitors and it is important for your partner to be with you. In fact, having a partner of her choice with her for her pregnancy journey is an internationally recognised human right, it’s time Irish hospitals stopped violating women’s human rights in this way.”

AIMS Ireland concludes, “Until every partner, in every maternity unit in Ireland, is able to walk freely into every appointment, scan, NICU, and for the entirety of labour and birth to provide the support and care that women and pregnant people tell us they need,  we will continue to put the pressure on.”

Protests will continue throughout this week at The Rotunda, CUMH, St Luke’s Kilkenny, Midlands Regional Hospital Mullingar, Portlaoise, Limerick Maternity Hospital, Wexford General, and Sligo General.


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