Report on Ireland's record of symphysiotomies says €34m has been paid out to victims

Survivors of Symphysiotomy called a new report into Government payouts an 'official whitewash'

Report on Ireland's record of symphysiotomies says €34m has been paid out to victims

Health Minister Simon Harris talking to the media in Dublin | Image:

Survivors of Symphysiotomy have called a new report into Government payouts an 'official whitewash'.

The newly-published report on Ireland's record of symphysiotomies says €34 million has been paid out to victims.

Awards of €50,000, €100,000 or €150,000 were given to all successful claimants.

In total 399 women were compensated - all of whom have received their payments - while nearly 200 applications were rejected. 

Many of the women were elderly - with the majority over 75 years.

The new report, by former High Court judge Maureen Harding Clark, was commissioned by former Health Minister Leo Varadkar in late 2014 in a bid to highlight the full extent of cases involved.

Thousands of women underwent the procedure between the 1940s and 1984, and the report is the result of a two-year investigation.

Health Minister Simon Harris said: “I wish to thank Judge Maureen Harding Clark and her team on the successful conclusion of the Scheme and on producing a very comprehensive report. It had been anticipated that in the region of 350 women would apply to the Scheme, but in fact 590 applications were received.

"I hope that the conclusion of this process will help to bring closure for the women involved and their families."

The now-banned practice effectively unhinged the pelvis.

It involved sawing open a woman's pelvic bone in certain complicated childbirth situations - causing intense pain and life-long complications.

Survivors Of Symphysiotomy Ireland say an estimated 1,500 women and girls, some as young as 14, had their pelvises severed by senior doctors.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee has found these operations were torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Speaking after today's publication, Marie O'Connor of Survivors of Symphysiotomy said: "The Harding Clark Report on the government payment scheme is the third official whitewash report on symphysiotomy. The scheme was designed to mask the mutilating nature of the operation. It was premised on the expeditious view that women's injuries generally cleared up soon after having their pelvises broken.

"The Harding Clark Report portrays an unrecognisable scheme, one that was rational, non-adversarial and just. Many of our members experienced the scheme as irrational, adversarial and unjust," she added.