Making their voices heard – depression in pregnancy

The debate about the Protection of Life in Pregnancy Bill has been long, arduous, and bitter, but it seems set to pass through the Oireachtas before the summer recess. Part 2 (9) of the Bill, which covers cases in which the woman’s life is at risk due to suicide, has been the most controversial aspect, but [...]

Sticks and stones

“Sure you know what I mean…” The call to complicity is one we hear all the time. It’s the stock response from anyone called out on discrimination, and it’s all too easy to just nod along and mumble “yeah, I do”. “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is a [...]

Women and work… and Leo Varadkar

Leo Varadkar TD at a Fine Gael press conference during the 2011 General Election Campaign. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) A straw poll of friends and colleagues a recently revealed that many of the women I know are the primary – or the only – breadwinners in their families. The recession has caused a huge amount [...]

We didn't mean to write about the genocide

... But we did. It's in the air you breathe in Rwanda, in the food you eat and in the way people look at you, or don't. It's unavoidable, inescapable and it would be a fallacy and a betrayal to go there and ignore it. Everything is done and said in the context of the genocide, [...]

Rwanda's women working together (or, everyone's got a Bono story)

Women's empowerment in Rwanda is crossing the boundaries of ethnicity, class, education, geography and even wellness. Yesterday, we met Yvonne Mutakwasuku, the mayor of a district called Muhanga just west of Kigali. A softly spoken Francophone, Yvonne has worked as a health and social worker with local authorities, NGOs and women's groups for her entire career, [...]

Getting to grips with Rwanda's complex gender quotas

Our Western images of Africa are of colourful women with babies on their backs, not business suit-clad women with laptops. They're of starving children, not well-fed men about town sipping lattes in indigenous coffee chains that bear striking resemblances to Costa or Starbucks, but with better food. This is Kigali. We're here to research the success [...]

Kigali – first impressions

Tree lined boulevards, undulating green hills dotted with red roofed buildings and the occasional steel and glass of modernity... Kigali is not what most of us would expect from an African capital. The main roads are in better shape than most of those in Ireland; there is very little litter; traffic is busy but not crazy; [...]

Rwanda

Rwanda is the most densely populated country in Africa AND has very fertile soil. This is how that works out. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) At the moment I am busy making plans for a trip to Rwanda in February. I received funding from Irish Aid's Simon Cumbers Media Fund last summer for a project on [...]

Hand-wringing and head-shaking

Fianna Fáil Press Office Billy Kelleher TD Spokesperson on Health 13 June 2012 Symphysiotomy victims should not be barred from civil action by statute of limitations – Kelleher Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher has welcomed the publication of the report on Symphysiotomy in Ireland by Professor Oonagh Walsh. Deputy Kelleher said: “This first part of this report gives a very concise history of this procedure in Ireland and across Europe. The report says that the procedure was used in the majority of cases in an emergency and did assist with saving babies lives in particular before caesarean sections became common practice. The report says symphysiotomy "was wrongly used in a number of cases". “In the larger Maternity hospitals such as the Coombe, Rotunda and Holles street it was used very infrequently, 0.36% of cases (7 out of 5,874 births) in the Rotunda. It seems to have been used more frequently in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda and the last case was reported in 1984 when most of the other hospitals would have stopped using it in the 1960's. The fact that it was still being used in 1984 should be investigated further as it seems totally unacceptable when alternative life-saving treatments were in common use by then. “Judge Maureen Harding Clarke investigated cases of women in this same hospital who had hysterectomies unnecessarily and this was done in a very swift non-confrontational manner. Minister Reilly should look at this model when the final recommendations are made.” The second part of this report will contain recommendations. Deputy Kelleher concluded that “there is no doubt that that these women should not be prohibited from taking civil cases by the statute of limitations.”

Political doublespeak, waffle, spin... call it what you will. It's incessant.

Politicians moving motions of congratulations, condolence, sympathy, at local authority meetings where nobody cares and they are simply wasting time they should be formulating policy and making decisions.

Politicians making vague statements - see previous post re Enda Kenny talking about "google for trees" when visiting Cork.

And politicians issuing press releases purely to be in on something. The very odd time, they have something useful to add. More often than not they are trying to involve themselves in a story that they have nothing to do with, that they have never contributed to in any meaningful way, and that they never intend to help with, really. But it's 99% perception, isn't it?

I got a press release yesterday from Fianna Fáil health spokesperson (and my local TD, who has never once canvassed my house in 2 years) Billy Kelleher, about the symphysiotomy scandal.

I watched Vincent Browne on Tuesday night along with thousands of other absolutely horrified viewers.

The dignity of the victim on that show was almost unbearable.

And we followed up on it for today's paper, with the story of a Cork woman on the front page. Her husband was justifiably angry about their treatment by politicians, who came and went, always making sure to get their name in the story.

Now.

Saying that someone "should not be statute barred" from pursuing a claim in court, is like saying the sky shouldn't be blue, we should have ink flowing through our veins instead of blood, and eating lots of chocolate shouldn't make you fat.

This is probably the most insulting press release I've ever received.

Reciting the content of the report, indulging in some headshaking, and generally bemoaning the state of the world.

Why on EARTH would I print that, in a story about the brutality suffered by thousands of women for whom justice has never been done?

You tell me.




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