Wednesday 7 December 2016

Government pays €30,000 to woman who brought abortion case

Published 01/12/2016 | 02:30

Amanda Mellet will receive €30,000 compensation. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Amanda Mellet will receive €30,000 compensation. Photo: Steve Humphreys

A woman who is to receive €30,000 compensation from the Government after complaining to the United Nations about Ireland's abortion laws has said it will go a long way towards bringing closure for the "most painful chapter of my life".

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The ex-gratia payment is being made to Amanda Mellet who, in testimony to a UN Human Rights committee, spoke of the trauma of having to terminate her pregnancy after being told her baby would not survive. Ms Mellet will also receive an apology.

Health Minister Simon Harris said he met and sympathised with Ms Mellet and found her experience very upsetting.

The UNHR Committee had ruled she was subjected to discrimination and cruel and inhuman treatment.

It requested that the State should amend its law on termination of pregnancy, to ensure that healthcare providers were in a position to supply full information on safe abortion services.

Referendum

It also asked for adequate compensation for Ms Mellet and to make any psychological treatment she required available to her.

However, the Government said it would not give a commitment to change the abortion law when it appeared before the committee next week to deliver a response.

It will outline the process in place in advance of any constitutional referendum.

The Government has set up a Citizens' Assembly which will inform how the country should proceed in relation to the Eighth Amendment.

"I am immensely grateful to Minister Harris for his personal apology to me and offer of compensation and counselling," Ms Mellet said last night.

As the payment was ex-gratia it would have no knock-on implications for other women who were in a similar situation. TFMR Ireland, representing other bereaved parents, praised Ms Mellet's courage but said that other women were also affected.

Irish Independent

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