Saturday 19 October 2019

'They've never had to carry their baby in a little white box' - father who lost son slams Holles Street protesters

Protesters outside of Holles Street Hospital
Photo: Catholic Arena/Twitter
Protesters outside of Holles Street Hospital Photo: Catholic Arena/Twitter
Robin Schiller

Robin Schiller

A FATHER whose twin sons died following their premature births has described the use of baby-sized coffins for a protest outside a Dublin maternity hospital as horrible and thoughtless.

Last Saturday protesters held a pro-life rally outside Holles Street Maternity Hospital and have said they plan to continue with their protests.

The group placed three white baby-sized coffins on the ground which led to widespread backlash with Health Minister Simon Harris describing it as “grossly insensitive”.

Damien Basquill , whose infant twins Fiachra and Éanna tragically passed away following their premature births two weeks ago, said the form of protest was “the most horrible thoughtless thing I’ve ever heard”.

In an emotional interview on RTE’s Liveline programme, Mr Basquill  told Katie Hannon that his wife Kathleen gave birth to their twin boys two weeks ago.

“We found out in January that my wife was pregnant with kids. We were pretty petrified and delighted at the same time. Everything was going brilliant, everything was going great.

“Then just about two weeks ago she felt uncomfortable,” Mr Basquill said.

His wife Kathleen was first brought to the out-patient unit in Castlebar Hospital before later being transferred by ambulance to the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital.

Their sons were born that night and later brought to incubators in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

“The next morning we called down as often as we could to the ICU. Things were going as good as they could be,” he said.

Tragically, Damien’s baby boy Éanna developed a bleed to his brain and sadly passed away that Saturday.

He described how the next few days passed and their son Fiachra was beginning to thrive, before his condition deteriorated.

“He fought as best as he could but passed away on the Sunday,” Damien Basquill  told the Liveline programme.

The family brought their twin boys home with them on the Monday, and held a funeral for Éanna and Fiachra that Tuesday.

Mr Basquill  then told the programme that the people who decided to place the white baby coffins outside the hospital in protest “never had to carry their own babies out of a hospital.

“I’d just love to know, I want to hear the why. the justification for this protest, ‘Do you know what would be a great idea for this protest? We’re going to get three coffins and just throw them there on the footpath’. It’s cold as ice, the most horrible thoughtless thing I’ve ever heard,” he said.

“Whoever made the decision to do that, I’d love to hear them justify it because they’ve never been in this situation. They’ve never had to carry their babies out of a hospital in a little white box, they’ve never had to do it.”

He added how for people who had to carry their own children out of a hospital following a tragic death, the white coffin represented “their family, that was their baby, that was a future communion.

“In our case Kathleen had been buying bits and bobs... we were so looking forward to it, we were counting down the days to late September and early October,” Mr Basquill  said.

The organisers of the protest, who call themselves’ Our Lady of Lourdes Protectors’, have said they will continue to hold protests outside maternity hospitals as well as use small coffins.

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