Monday, January 07, 2013

Health Committee to hold three days of hearings this week

The Committee on Health and Children will hold three days of public hearings on 8th, 9th and 10th January 2013 on the Implementation of the Government Decision following the publication of the Expert Group Report into matters relating to A, B, C, vs Ireland.
The purpose of the meetings, which will be held in the Seanad Chamber, will be to gather information which will be of assistance to Government in the drafting of the Heads of Bill following its decision.

The Committee will hear contributions from experienced medical practitioners, legal experts, representatives of churches and religious groups and from advocacy groups. It is intended that the hearings will help to determine what issues need to be addressed in the Heads of Bill and draft regulations.

The groups attending the public hearings are:

Tuesday 8th January - Seanad Eireann (Medical Hearings)

Session 1: @ 9.30 - 11.30

Department of Health
Irish Medical Council

Session 2: @ 11.45 - 13.45

Dr. Rhona Mahony, Master, National Maternity Hospital,

Dr. Sam Coulter Smyth, Master Rotunda Hospital,

Dr. Mary McCaffrey. Kerry Hospital, Tralee.

Session 3: @ 14.45 - 16.45

Dr. Anthony McCarthy,
Dr. Joanne Fenton,

Dr. John Sheehan (all College of Psychiatry Ireland)

Prof. Patricia Casey (Dept. of Adult Psychiatry, UCD & Mater Misercordiae University Hospital)

Prof. Veronica O'Kane (Dept. of Psychiatry, Tallaght Hospital)

Session 4: @ 17:00 - 19.00

Irish Family Planning Association (Mr. Niall Behan CEO)

Institute of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (Prof. Robert F Harrison, Chairman, Dr. Meabh Ni Bhuinneain, Prof. Fionnuala McAuliffe)
Maternal Death Inquiry Ireland (Prof. Richard Greene)

Wednesday 9th January - Seanad Eireann (Legal Hearings)

Session 1: @ 9.30 - 11.30

Ms. Jeniffer Schweppe (University of Limerick)

Ms. Ciara Staunton (NUI Galway)

Dr. Simon Mills (Law Library)

Session 2: @ 11.45 - 13.45

Bar Council of Ireland
Irish Council of Civil Liberties (Mr. Mark Kelly)

Session 3: @ 14.45 - 16.15

Professor William Binchy (Trinity College Dublin)

Hon. Judge Catherine McGuiness (retired)

Thursday 10th January - Seanad Eireann (Churches & Advocacy Groups)

Session 1: @ 9.30-11.30

Irish Catholic Bishops Conference
Church of Ireland
Presbyterian Church of Ireland
Methodist Church of Ireland
Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland

Session 2: @ 11.45- 13.45

Pro Life Campaign (Ms. Caroline Simons; Dr. Berry Kiely)

Youth Defence (Dr. Eoghan de Faoite; Dr. Sean O'Domhnaill)
Family & life (Mr. Patrick Carr, Mr. David Manley)

Iona Institute (Ms. Breda O'Brien)

Session 3: @ 14.45 - 16.45

Choice Ireland (Ms. Sinead Ahern)
National Womens Council of Ireland (Ms. Orla O'Connor, Director)

Action on X

All hearings will be in public session and will be broadcast live on the internet at and on the Oireachtas channel 207 on the UPC cable network.

At the conclusion of the meetings the Committee will furnish a report to Government summarising the contributions received during the consultative process.

Committee Chairman, Jerry Buttimer TD said: “The Government has decided that it will proceed to address the issues raised in the ABC judgement with legislation and regulations. It has requested that the Committee assists in the gathering of information to be considered in the drafting of the Heads of Bill.

“Our meetings next week will provide an opportunity for Committee members to listen and engage with a wide range of groups, including medical and legal experts as well as advocacy groups and Churches.

“The Committee’s hearings will be conducted in a balanced, fair and calm manner focussing on the issues which need to be considered in drafting the legislation and regulations. While we recognise that many people have divergent and deep-held views on the issues involved, we expect that the meetings will be held in a manner that is respectful and tolerant.

“We would hope to be able to report to the Government by the end of the month on the information we gather from our meetings.”

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