Friday 24 May 2019

Woman who made complaint to UN about Ireland's abortion laws offered €30,000 compensation

Amanda Mellett Picture: Steve Humphreys
Amanda Mellett Picture: Steve Humphreys

Eilish O’Regan

The Government has offered €30,000 compensation to a woman who made a complaint to the United Nations about Ireland’s abortion laws.

Health Minister Simon Harris confirmed the ex-gratia offer has been made to Amanda Mellet.

In testimony to a UN Human Rights committee she spoke of the trauma of  having to terminate her pregnancy after being told her baby would not survive.

The minister said he has now met with Ms Mellet and sympathised with her about her experience which he found very upsetting.

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

It requested the State to amend its law on termination of pregnancy, to ensure that health-care providers are in a position to supply full information on safe abortion services, and to provide Ms Mellet with adequate compensation and to make available to her any psychological treatment she requires.

“I informed Ms Mellet that our response to the UN Committee sets out the current legislative position in Ireland for termination of pregnancy where the unborn is protected by Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution.

“The Government has established a Citizen’s Assembly, in line with its Programme for Partnership Government commitment to consider a number of matters including constitutional reform.

“Under the Assembly’s terms of reference they are directed to first consider the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution (Article 40.3.3) and their conclusions on the matter will be submitted to the Houses of the Oireachtas for further debate by Parliament.”

He said apart from the ex-gratia payment he will also direct the Health Service Executive to ensure that Ms Mellet will have timely access to all appropriate psychological services.

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