Immigrant Council liaised with IFPA on travel plans for Ms Y

Draft HSE report says when adoption was suggested woman said she would ‘rather die’

The Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI) was liaising with the Irish Family Planning Association for over seven weeks about applying for exit and re-entry documents for Ms Y, the young woman at the centre of the latest abortion controversy, a draft HSE report into her care has found.

Eight weeks after Ms Y first said she wanted an abortion, no application had been made for her travel documents, a first draft of the report indicates.

According to the draft HSE report, which has been seen by The Irish Times, no application was, however, made to the Department of Justice's Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) for travel documents by the time of Ms Y's final IFPA appointment.

Ms Y had three crisis pregnancy counselling sessions with the Irish Family Planning Association between 8th April - four days after she found out she was pregnant - and 22nd May.


At her final session, despite the fact she had consistently said she wanted an abortion, the counsellor suggested she might consider adoption, the draft report says.

The report indicates the Immigrant Council, which operates a support service for migrants seeking travel documents to leave and return to Ireland, was contacted by an IFPA counsellor the day after Ms Y’s first counselling session.

Ms Y, a young immigrant, claims she was raped before she arrived in the State earlier this year. She came to the attention of HSE psychiatric services at about 24 weeks’ gestation, when it was deemed too late to abort the pregnancy - despite the fact she was deemed suicidal under the provisions of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act.

Her baby boy was born at just under 26 weeks’ gestation by Caesarean section last month.

The HSE established a four-person report team to establish what happened to Ms Y, from the time she came into the State on March 28th until the Caesarean section was performed.

A first draft of the report has been circulated to interested parties.

The draft report states on every page: “This is a draft report and can only be considered as such. This document can expect to contain factual/clinical inaccuracies and/or information that may require additional clarification.”

This draft also states that Ms Y found out she was pregnant during medical screening at her accommodation centre on April 4th. A staff nurse - known in the draft report a ‘staff nurse 1’ - noted she “became very distressed and stated ...she could not have a baby and that no-one could know”.

She was referred by the nurse to the IFPA and seen by a crisis pregnancy counsellor on April 8th.

“It is documented that all options were discussed with Ms Y who was visibly very upset,” the report states.

The counsellor explained it may be difficult for her “to access safe and legal abortion services outside the country because of her status” but began liaising with the Immigrant Council “to help Ms Y apply for her temporary travel documents”.

An ultrasound on Friday April 11th established the gestation was eight weeks and four days and the estimated delivery date was November 9th, 2014.

The draft report indicates the IFPA discussed Ms Y’s case with the Immigrant Council’s co-ordinator of support services on April 17th and the counsellor was told the process of applying for travel documents could be lengthy.

On April 28th, the IFPA contacted the Immigrant Council in relation to Ms Y’s travel documents and was told that while it would normally take six to eight weeks to process an application, “cases such as Ms Y’s were given priority and that it usually took in the region of two to three weeks.”

The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service would need to know the stage of Ms Y’s pregnancy “in order to estimate the dates by which travel arrangements would need to be confirmed”, the report states. More than two weeks later, on Wednesday 14th May, an ultrasound confirms the pregnancy is 14 weeks, according to the report.

The draft reports says a week after that, on Wednesday May , the Immigrant Council co-ordinator took a call from an IFPA counsellor, during which the co-ordinator asked if Ms Y still wanted to go ahead with applying for travel documents. The draft report says the IFPA counsellor said “there were still some issues to be sorted out and that Ms Y was ‘stressed’.

“The co-ordinator formed the view that Ms Y might have changed her mind about travelling as it was the co-ordinator’s prior experience that this could happen,” the report states.

The Immigrant Council co-ordinator offered to deal directly with Ms Y to help her apply for the documents. However the IFPA counsellor “indicated that Ms Y was ‘vulnerable’ and therefore it was agreed that the co-ordinator would be contacted by the IFPA in the event that Ms Y required assistance to complete the paper work.”

The co-ordinator had no further contact from the IFPA about Ms Y.

On Thursday 22nd May Ms Y had a two-hour counselling session at the IFPA during which it was suggested she might consider adoption “Ms Y had said ‘she would rather die than have this baby’.”

The report says “counsellor 2 documented that (s)he had filled out as many of Ms Y’s travel documents with her as was possible” and explained to Ms Y what she needed to submit with the documents, namely four passport photos and the re-entry visa application form to be signed and stamped in a Garda station.

Later it states: “The staff from the IFPA indicated they did not receive any completed documentation related to Ms Y’s application for temporary travel documentation.”

It says that based on what the report team has been able to establish, “all of the agencies and services involved had acted in good faith and that they had tried very hard to act in Ms Y’s best interests”.

This draft of the report states the inquiry team “identified that there was evidence that there were lost opportunities that if identified might have ensured that the services involved were in possession of all the relevant information at the right time and in so doing that they were in a position to assist Ms Y to avail of the services that she required at an earlier time.”

Ms Y has not yet been interviewed by the report team and is considering a request from the HSE to engage with their inquiry team.

The HSE said in a statement: “The work of the review team has not yet been completed and the team has not yet carried out all of the interviews they wish to conduct prior to drawing any conclusions about the facts in this case.

“As such, the draft report is not complete and does not present a full and final view of the work of the team compiling the report.”

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times