Galway West Fianna Fáil Deputy Colm Keaveney has expressed alarm at news of further delays in a crucial report on maternity services at Portiuncula Hospital.

Deputy Keaveney has accused the Government of playing politics with frontline maternity services in the West of Ireland.

“Families are being left in limbo as the Government continues to kick to touch on this extremely important issue. A review of maternity services, which includes investigations into a number of births, was due to be completed next month. We are now learning that it is being delayed for several months, and possibly until after the next general election,” Deputy Keaveney said.

“This review should provide vital answers to a number of parents whose babies died or suffered problematic births at Portiuncula. It is completely unacceptable that these families are being expected to wait in the dark for even longer for answers. This is not something that happened decades ago. These are very recent tragedies exposing risks at the hospital that must be addressed without further delay.

“Portiuncula provides vital maternity services to thousands of woman across the West of Ireland. These services must be maintained but they must be properly resourced in order to sure the safest possible standards of care for mothers and their babies. We need the results of the ongoing review to establish where the problems are and ensure that these problems are addressed immediately in order to prevent any more tragedies.

“It is difficult to escape the conclusion that this report is being deliberately delayed to avoid controversy for the government parties in the lead up to a general election. Unfortunately we have seen this government has used this tactic all too often, attempting to give the impression that an issue is being dealt with by simply ordering a report into it. Reports alone are not enough. This issue is far too important to fall victim to political games. Mothers have a right to expect that their safety and the safety of their newborns are being put first.”