December 10, 2014
Women who underwent surgical symphysiotomy or pubiotomy in Ireland have been given more time to apply for the State’s payment scheme in exceptional circumstances.
Awards of €50,000, €100,000 and €150,000 will be offered to applicants in Ireland and abroad who satisfy the terms, although critics have argued that it falls short of UN’s requirements for an adequate human rights abuse redress.
It is estimated that 1300 women in Ireland endured the procedure, in which the mother’s pelvis was broken, since the 1920s and suffered physical and mental damage as a result.
Initially, applications had to be made by Friday December 5, but Judge Maureen Harding Clark has agreed, in exceptional circumstances, to accept or reject receipt of applications by Wednesday, January 14.
It is not made clear what exceptional circumstances may be. Survivors of Symphysiotomy, the national membership group for casualties of this childbirth operation, have asked UK survivors to contact them via their web site http://symphysiotomyireland.com/ for assistance with both late applications and possible litigation.
Chairperson Marie O’Connor said: “The Government scheme is based on no admission of wrong doing and offers payments that represent a fraction of the court awards laid down in already decided cases.”
The Symphysiotomy Payment Scheme is voluntary and women will not waive their rights to take their cases to court if participating in the Scheme and women may opt out of the Scheme at any stage in the process, up to the time of accepting their award.
If an applicant is struggling to obtain necessary documentation in time, such as medical records, they should still apply and note in writing the reasons why the paperwork is missing.
It is only on accepting the offer of an award that a woman must agree to discontinue her legal proceedings against any party arising out of a symphysiotomy or pubiotomy.
Details about the Scheme and application forms are available on the Scheme’s website at http://www.payment-scheme.gov.ie or by phoning the Assessor at 0035316778553, 003531 6778554 or 0035316778555.