04 Dec 2021

'A move in the right direction:' Senator welcomes easing of maternity restrictions

HEALTH COLUMN: The second trimester (weeks 14-26)

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A Kildare Senator has welcomed the recent easing of maternity restrictions.

Chair of the Oireachtas Women’s Caucus and Fianna Fáil Senator Fiona O’Loughlin said about the news: "From November 1, there will be open access for support partners from 8am to 9pm, and this is very welcome."

"I have been contacted by numerous women from across the country in my role as Chair of the Women’s caucus, and their stories were truly harrowing."

"At a recent demonstration outside Leinster House, many brave women spoke of their horrific experiences of loss and isolation as they gave birth or dealt with the loss of a baby."

She continued: "Their speeches were powerful and devastating, including one from a Kildare activist Emma Carroll, who gave one of the most moving speeches of the day.

"I have no doubt that the tenacity and dedication of all of these women, and their partners has led to this easing."

She added that Ireland must also remember the six babies that unfortunately passed away from COVID-19: "We are thinking of their heartbroken parents today, and we must also be cognisant of the seven pregnant women on any given day battling with Covid in ICU, and we must keep them in our thoughts."

"We all know that babies are born outside of the hours of 8am and 9pm, and that women will need further supports, but this is a move in the right direction."

She concluded: "Covid is still a real and present risk, but as we have seen the easing of numerous restrictions this week, this measure is absolutely appropriate."

Senator O' Loughlin's comments follow after protests which first started two weeks calling for the government to get rid of restrictions for partners who wish to accompany pregnant women in maternity care.

Earlier today, Health Service Executive CEO Paul Reid thanked all women and their partners on behalf of the HSE for their support and patience during the pandemic after his official announcement of the restrictions being lifted.

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