Sunday 17 December 2017

Second Fine Gael minister opens about the experience of miscarriage

Personal tragedy: Housing Minister Paudie Coffey. Photo: Collins
Personal tragedy: Housing Minister Paudie Coffey. Photo: Collins
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

A second Fine Gael minister has opened up about the experience of miscarriage.

Minister for Housing and Planning Paudie Coffey said his wife suffered a miscarriage and that it had a devastating effect on his family.

Mr Coffey made the admission in the context of a potential future referendum on abortion.

"I think that is a very sensitive issue for people and for families," the Waterford TD told the Irish Independent.

"I'm a father of three myself. I love my children. I also have a wife. We had a miscarriage. I saw the devastation it can cause to a young mother and a father and a family."

Mr Coffey's decision to discuss his wife's ordeal came after his party colleague and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald revealed that she had suffered two miscarriages.

"They are marked in my memory," she said of her miscarriages during an interview with the 'Irish Examiner'.

"I remember going into the hospital and being told and then the shock. The whole thing around it," she said.


"But now more than when I had my miscarriages - it is a long time since then - but now for young women and men, it is a real shock. They get a bit despairing. 'Is this really happening to me?' they ask."

Approximately 14,000 women have a miscarriage in Ireland each year.

Ms Fitzgerald said she went on to have a second and third pregnancy after her miscarriages, which allowed her to put some perspective on it.

However, the Justice Minister fears that younger generations do not believe that miscarriages are part of some natural order as people wait until later in life to try to have children.

She described the subject as hugely sensitive.

Irish Independent

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