Fianna Fáil is bringing forward a private members’ motion to make maternity care safer in Ireland. Spokesperson on Health, Stephen Donnelly has said the Government has an opportunity, and should be striving to provide, a world-class maternity service to Irish women.

Deputy Donnelly said, “A few weeks ago, everyone listened in horror as woman after woman spoke on Liveline of their harrowing experiences of Ireland’s maternity services, both past and present. They talked of a system which had let them down, embarrassed them and had taken away their dignity.

“We never want this to happen again and the purpose of this private members motion is to highlight the very real concerns which exist within our maternity care services and outline the measures available to the Government to improve them.

“I have consulted with many medical professionals and it is their contention that this is a progressive motion. One consultant in paediatric medicine said it was a motion ‘based on woman centred care that focusses on supporting maternity staff to provide the highest standard of care in an environment where midwives and obstetricians flourish’.

“There are four main parts to the motion. We want the Government to address the chronic staff shortages and to invest in community-based pathways to ensure choice for mothers. We want a guarantee that new public maternity hospitals will not have separate external or internal entrances, nor separate facilities within the hospitals, for private patients – we cannot build inequality into our maternity care.

“We want the Government to set out a definitive timeframe and targeted funding for the relocation of the standalone maternity hospitals. Finally, we want to see progress on all projects not yet commenced and a clear mapping of current services”, he concluded.