Saturday 16 December 2017

14-strong expert group headed up by judge Sean Ryan

Sarah Stack

Sarah Stack

THE 14-strong expert group was chaired by High Court judge Sean Ryan, who previously led a landmark inquiry uncovering child abuse in Catholic Church-run institutions and schools.

Medical and legal specialists and senior civil servants made up the rest of the membership, with five men and nine women examining what options are available to the Irish Government after a European Court of Human Rights ruling on abortion.

It included consultant obstetricians Dr Mary Holohan from Dublin's Rotunda Hospital and Dr Peter Boylan, a former master at Holles Street, the national maternity hospital.

Others from the medical field were consultant psychiatrist Dr Imelda Ryan, general practitioner Dr Mark Walsh and leading family doctors' representative, Dr Ailis Ni Riain, who resigned in unexplained circumstances in May 2012.

Those giving advice on the legal implications included Christine O'Rourke, from the Office of the Attorney General, barrister Mary O Toole and solicitors Joanelle O'Cleirigh and Denise Kirwan.

The country's chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, and Bernard Carey, assistant secretary in the Department of Health, advised on policy matters.

Elsewhere professional standards for doctors was represented by Dr Deirdre Madden of the Medical Council, and for nurses and midwives by Dr Maura Pidgeon of An Bord Altranais (Nursing Board).

The group were appointed in January and initially due to report back to the Government with a range of options within six months, but were granted an extension.

Health Minister James Reilly said: "I welcome the publication of this report and wish to thank the expert group for their commitment and their dedication to this work and for the invaluable contribution they have made in bringing clarity to this complex and sensitive issue."

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