30 November 2016

Labour Spokesperson on Health, Alan Kelly TD, has described the Government’s response to the UN Human Rights Committee on the case of Amanda Mellet as a “game changer” in terms of Ireland’s response to women, such as Amanda, who have to travel out of the country to access abortion services.

Deputy Kelly said: “The fact that the Government is responding in this way to the UN’s findings of inhuman and degrading treatment in the case of Amanda Mellet is significant.  As a State, we are putting our hand up to the world and saying it is wrong that women – like Amanda – should have to travel to secure abortion services.  This acknowledgement is game changing.

“Ultimately, to satisfy the UN, Ireland needs to change our law to facilitate abortion services for women like Amanda in our hospital system.  However, for now, the agreement to pay compensation and to provide Amanda with the support and care she deserves is an important admission that Ireland did not serve her well.

“Ireland’s response to the UN – and indeed the UN finding made back in June – should form an important consideration for the Citizens Assembly, and in the subsequent deliberations by the Oireachtas. It’s also important that we move swiftly in the year ahead to make sure that we have a legal framework that ensures that no women have to endure cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.”

Deputy Kelly said that the Minister for Health must now move to dispensing the compensation due to Ms Mellet, as well as putting in place a structure in which she can access any professional counselling or support services that may be required.

Deputy Kelly continued: “It would be important that the Minister moves swiftly to make the compensation and access to services available to Amanda without any further delay.  Indeed, I believe that this should happen in the coming days, before the Government submits its formal response to the UN.

“The courage and dignity of Amanda Mellet – and her husband James – is to be commended.  They have done a huge service to Ireland.”

Deputy Kelly organised the delegation which included Amanda Mellet and her husband James that met with the Minister for Health last night. He has been liasing with the Minister for Health on this matter for sometime.

He added: “Together with Deputy Billy Kelleher, in the past few weeks, I have worked to encourage the Government to respond to the UN in a timely way.  That Ireland has failed in its human rights obligations is something I am embarrassed about, and the very least we can do is respond appropriately.”


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