Jack Quann
Jack Quann

19.38 7 May 2021


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Visitor restrictions at some maternity hospitals across the country have been labelled 'barbaric' by Labour Party leader Alan Kelly.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has written to facilities, urging them to comply with new rules about the attendance of partners.

They are allowed attend anomaly scans and labour.

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However expectant mothers say this has not been happening consistently around the country.

Mr Kelly told The Hard Shoulder there has to be intervention from the Health Minister.

"It's barbaric, it's simply barbaric what's going on.

"I was stopped by a friend of mine on the street many months ago, I've told this story in Dáil Éireann, and she had nobody with her when she got bad news all of a sudden.

"She had to go into a ward where woman had successfully, and had great joyous moments, of having children - and she'd got bad news.

"She actually had to drive herself home that day because she had no one with her."

He also referenced the story of Gary Toohey, who went viral after tweeting a picture of himself waving up at a window from the car park of Limerick Regional Maternity Hospital.

His caption read: "Hours away from having our first child and there I am waving up at herself from outside the hospital on the street, where do you begin".

Mr Kelly said: "I heard a story this week of Gary Toohey - it's been all over the social media.

"At the very last minute he was let in last night, he was messaging me during the middle of the night actually.

"Joyce, his partner, had a beautiful baby girl - Fiadh - and congratulations to them.

"Paul Reid said yesterday that the conditions are right now to allow partners and husbands to go in for critical scans and for labour.

"And in fairness, Colm Henry said it before, and they said they were going to be contacting every maternity service.

"Why this hasn't been dealt with? It seems like the HSE at the highest level want this to happen.

"But in some cases it is happening, and in other cases it isn't - there's no consistency".

He said while hospitals are making their own decisions "it's a postcode lottery".

"This isn't fair or equitable".

He said he asked Health Minister Stephen Donnelly about the issue in the Dáil.

"He said 'Look, the hospitals have the right to do this' - but privately, I believe he supports what I'm saying."

He added: "Look at the restrictions that are being lifted in the next week or so: surely if we can allow some of those restrictions to be lifted, we can facilitate a way in which women who are giving birth can have their partners at critical moments".

Maternity hospital visitor restrictions 'barbaric and unfair' - Kelly

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

    

Main image: Labour Party leader Alan Kelly speaking about the vaccine rollout and housing in the portico of Leinster House, Dublin. Picture by: Sam Boal / RollingNews.ie

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Alan Kelly Barbaric Colm Henry Gary Toohey Labour Party Leader Alan Kelly Maternity Hospitals Stephen Donnelly The Hard Shoulder Visitor Restrictions

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