Sunday 21 January 2018

Psychiatrists defend decision to push back abortion meeting

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

THE body representing psychiatrists has defended its decision to wait until September to hold an emergency general meeting about its stance on abortion legislation, despite calls for it to be convened urgently.

A spokeswoman for the College of Psychiatrists was responding to a call by a group of its members opposed to the inclusion of suicide as grounds for abortion to convene now.

The group wants to find out why the council decided to support the legislation when representatives went before the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children.

A spokeswoman for the college said the council considered the best time to hold an EGM for all members and has set a date for September 12.

She said: "Council agreed on this date so the membership of the college could be given sufficient notice and opportunity to attend, particularly in view of holiday months July and August.

"Some of the motions for members to discuss are likely to cause considerable debate and discussion. Council agreed that a better standing of resolution can be achieved by encouraging and enabling as many members as possible to attend the EGM."

She added: "All decisions were made in compliance with the college constitution and by-laws."

The group of psychiatrists, including the Mater hospital's Prof Patricia Casey, wants an early meeting, saying the college failed to take into account the views of all its members.

The college emailed all 864 members in advance of the Oireachtas committee hearings and received 32 responses.

A spokeswoman said these responses were mixed and not all were in agreement with views of the psychiatrists now calling for an EGM.

Irish Independent

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