Press Release / Statements

PRESS RELEASE FROM TOGETHER FOR SAFETY
13/12/2021

TOGETHER FOR SAFETY SAY MATERNITY HOSPITAL NOT TAKING ANTI-CHOICE PROTESTS SERIOUSLY

Together for Safety, a Limerick based national campaign group calling for Safe Access Zones around hospitals where no abortion related protests can take place, are calling for clarity into why the Limerick Maternity hospital are not taking complaints of protestors seriously or keeping a detailed record of all complaints made to them.

Last week the UL Hospital group said that they had “not received any official complaints” about protests outside the Maternity Hospital. However, in a six month period this year Together for Safety documented dozens of protests outside the Limerick Maternity Hospital, complaints about which were made to both the hospital and the gardai. However it appears these complaints are not being recorded by the hospital.

“Over the last year we have had numerous complaints made to us about anti-choice protests and activities taking place regularly outside Limerick Maternity Hospital, these are from local residents, women and pregnant people attending the hospital, local businesses and the general public. We have also been in contact directly with the Maternity Hospital, yet they appear to be minimizing the issue or not recording all complaints they receive. We are publicly asking why not and why the hospital is not ensuring that those using it can do so without being intimidated” said Yvie Murphy, Co-convener of Together for Safety.

“Together for Safety, working with the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, Amnesty International Ireland, Doctors for Choice, Trade Unions, multiple other stakeholders, and cross party political representatives has a Bill going through the Seanad at the moment that would put an immediate stop to these activities and the distress that they cause to pregnant people, staff and the general public. We are calling on people to contact their local representatives to ask them to support the Bill through the upcoming stages. For those staff who do not feel safe enough to express their concerns to their employers, we strongly encourage you to contact your trade union where you will be fully supported to make your complaint. Finally, we ask as a matter of urgency that the Limerick Maternity Hospital begin to log all of the complaints that are sent in to them” said Karen Sugrue, co-conveynor of Together for Safety.

“We have been approached by staff of the hospital that are upset and frustrated by these protests but have asked for anonymity as they were concerned that a complaint would impact their jobs. In 2021 it is beyond belief to think that we still have catholic ethos hospitals where staff are afraid to voice complaints about anti-abortion protests and that the hospital isn’t keeping record of complaints made by service users and local residents” continued Ms Sugrue.

“While some people working in the hospital might not view the occasional person outside the hospital saying prayers with rosary beads as intimidating, we would argue that even one person being negatively impacted by this sort of anti-abortion activity is one too many and the hospital has a duty of care towards its staff and service users. Everybody should be able to access healthcare in safety, privacy and with dignity” said Ms Murphy.

Together for Safety would like to assure the public, especially hospital service users and supporting partners, that they will continue to monitor the situation and gather information from those who wish to report a protest or share their experiences with people who will hear their concerns and take their distress seriously. You can contact the campaign at www.togetherforsafety.com or on social media at together_safety.

–ENDS–