Today hundreds of parents, pregnant women and supporters gathered outside the Dáil for #MarchForMaternity, amid the ongoing restrictions associated with maternity health care.
A scroll containing the stories of those experiencing pregnancy and giving birth during the pandemic was held up by female politicians and members of the Better Maternity Care campaign group.
Large signs were held up calling on the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly to honour his commitment to end partner restrictions in maternity care at various hospitals.
The Better Maternity Care campaign urged Minister Donnelly to discuss the ongoing impact of the restrictions, as well as his commitment to end the exclusion of partners from full labour and emergency care.
Campaigner Linda Kelly who had her second baby during Covid-19, told those gathered;
“The most frequent question I get asked is who’s in charge? And the answer is simple – the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly is in charge. That’s why we are here today outside the gates of Leinster House, protesting in a pandemic so that our Minister for Health will hear us, recognise our lived experience and do his job – by ensuring that all 19 maternity units revert to pre pandemic access for one nominated support partner.”
Better Maternity Care campaigner Emma Carroll who had her first baby during Covid-19 said “We stand here today to call on Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, yet again, to immediately intervene and keep the promise he made many months ago to end maternity restrictions.“
Another campaigner Caroiline Cumming who had the joy of her 3rd baby earlier this year spoke directly to partners saying “Unlike in our maternity hospitals, we in fact think that you play a crucial role, you are not a luxury, you are a necessity – and you are very welcome to be here today. “
Traveller activist, Senator Eileen Flynn who had a baby just 3 weeks ago sent a message to at the rally, saying “Traveller women – and all women – need to know they’re being listened to across our maternity services. They need to know they’re being heard at every step. It can feel very patronizing when you feel spoken down to, rather than spoken to.”