Final report on symphysiotomy in Ireland, 1944-1984

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This Final Report is the culmination of a two-stage process aimed at fulfilling the request of the previous Minister for Health and Children (Mary Harney) in relation to the practice of symphysiotomy in Ireland. This first phase was an independent academic research report. The second phase involved consultation with relevant stakeholders to provide comment on the report. The first section of this Report comprises the draft report which was compiled with reference to printed sources, and the analysis of medical reports and research. This first stage did not involve interviews with individuals directly involved in symphysiotomies (mothers, practitioners and midwives in particular). This approach was central to the production of an independent report, compiled without influence or input from vested interests. Once the independent baseline was established, the researcher sought feedback from the stakeholders, and further input from those with direct experience in the procedure. From the announcement of this project, the author had unsolicited contact from various individuals with experience of the procedure, offering their perspectives. None of these offers of assistance were followed up, in order to ensure that the Draft Report remained free from influence from either proponents of the procedure, or opponents of it. Once that phase was complete, the author sought additional input in order to ensure that the present Final Report reflects as accurately as possible the history of symphysiotomy in Ireland (see consultation process
below). This Final Report is in two sections: the first includes the findings of the Draft Report, which includes the academic study of symphysiotomy and its revival in Ireland. The second section includes the findings of the phase two, consultative process.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationDublin
PublisherGovernment of Ireland
Number of pages114
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2014


  • symphysiotomy
  • women
  • Ireland
  • redress scheme


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