Thursday, 21 March 2013

AIMSI's PQs via Clare Daly: High Court Caesarean Case and MOU for Homebirth

AIMS Ireland sent in the following PQs following the High Court Case in Waterford. Clare also asked a PQ in relation to the MOU and Homebirth restrictions in Ireland.


DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Health (Dr. James Reilly)

by Deputy Clare Daly

for ORAL ANSWER on 20/03/2013

To ask the Minister for Health the circumstances in which a hospital went to the High Court to seek an order for a woman to have a Caesarean section on 10 March 2013; the nationality of the woman involved; the basis of that decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Clare Daly T.D.


Following a request for information by officials from my Department, the HSE has confirmed that on Friday 8 March 2013 Patient A attended the ante-natal Clinic in Waterford Regional Hospital. The patient was 13 days overdue. Serious concerns arose following a clinical review at the clinic. The patient was advised that an immediate admission to the hospital for a caesarean section was needed. It was deemed that there was a substantial risk to the health and wellbeing of both the baby and the mother. I am advised that, at this point, the mother refused to be admitted to hospital.

As the risks were deemed unacceptably high, an application was made by the HSE to the High Court seeking an order – Notice of Motion - to allow the hospital (or its doctors or staff) to administer all appropriate medical treatment for the mother to safeguard her health and that of her unborn child. The court order included a request that the patient be compelled to undergo a caesarean section if necessary. As per the patient’s entitlement legal representation was organised for the patient by the hospital. The patient’s legal representation costs will be covered by the hospital.

An initial Notice of Motion was issued on Friday nightrequesting the patient to return to the hospital for further review. The mother consented to stay in the hospital. A second consultant obstetrician spoke to the mother and outlined the serious concerns and the risks for both the baby and the mother. The mother again refused to undergo a caesarean section

On Saturday 9 March the patient consented to a caesarean section which was carried out immediately. Therefore a further Court ruling was no longer required. I wish the patient a speedy recovery.

I am unable to advise the Deputy of the nationality of the woman involved on the grounds that this could potentially lead to the identification of the patient.


addressed to the Minister for Health (Dr. James Reilly)

by Deputy Clare Daly

for WRITTEN ANSWER on 20/03/2013

* To ask the Minister for Health his views on whether the Memorandum of Understanding between midwives attending home births and the Health Service Executive sufficiently safeguards a woman's right to give birth how and when she wishes by the care provider of her choice; and, if not, his plans, if any, to revise it..

Clare Daly T.D.


Currently in Ireland there is a National Domiciliary Midwifery service available to eligible expectant mothers who wish to avail of a home birth service under the care of a self employed community midwife (SECM). This service is provided by the SECM on behalf of the Health Service Executive who signs the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Health Services Executive (HSE). As the HSE has responsibility for this matter it has been referred to them for direct reply to the Deputy.


  1. Wow, they are pretty disappointing answers from the Minister, particularly in relation to the MOU. Will Deputy Daly be in a position to share the response she receives from the HSE?

    Would I be right in thinking that we can assume Mother A was not of Irish nationality if Minister Reilly believes revealing her nationality could identify her?

    1. Clare is very open to transparency, I cannot imagine her not updating on the HSE info. The final meeting for the NSCHB is coming up - they may be waiting for that before commenting.

      It certainly reads that Mother A was non-Irish national, however, we do not know. We asked that question on the basis that there is a historical reference of disproportionate legal actions against women of non-national background.