Gilmore insists Ireland is a safe country in which to give birth

Tánaiste’s comments follow an apology from HSE to families whose babies died at Portlaoise Hospital

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has insisted Ireland is among the safest countries in the world in which to give birth.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has insisted Ireland is among the safest countries in the world in which to give birth.

Sat, Feb 1, 2014, 14:55

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has insisted Ireland is among the safest countries in the world in which to give birth.

His comment follows an apology from the Health Service Executive to four families whose babies died during or shortly after birth in the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise.

A review of the maternity unit in the Portlaoise hospital is underway and is being carried out by the chief medical officer in the Department of Health Dr Tony Holohan.

“What happened in Portlaoise should not have happened,” Mr Gilmore said.

“No parent should have to go through that. I know that the Minister for Health has asked the Chief Medical Officer to report on what happened and on what further steps need to be taken in relation to what happened in Portlaoise.”

Speaking before an address to the Labour Women’s Conference in Dublin, he insisted: “This country is one of the safest in the world in which to give birth. Our maternity services are very good and very safe. We put a huge emphasis on making sure that they are safe and there is a very strong message from government to all hospitals to ensure that maternity services are safe and that women are safe in childbirth.”

He also expressed sadness at the closure of Mount Carmel Private Hospital in Dublin.

“My immediate thoughts are with the staff of Mount Carmel for whom this is a huge blow and surprise and also for the women who had expected to give birth in Mount Carmel,” he said.

“We are satisfied there is sufficient capacity in maternity services in Dublin. We are reconfiguring maternity services in any event and I want to make sure they are adequate for the needs of Dublin and the wider Dublin area.”

The Tánaiste, denying reports of stresses within the Cabinet, said: “This government is going to last to the very end of its mandate which is in 2016.”

He added: “We are concentrating on getting the job done and we are doing that. We have succeeded in getting out of the bailout and returning the economy to growth. We are seeing jobs being created … but we have to see that recovery being expressed in people’s lives and in their pockets.

“I’ve said many times a recovery has to be for people and for families. The government is determined to continue the work it has started and to make that recovery real for people.”