Outside this building shortly, thousands of women and their partners will be protesting the failure to resolve the harmful maternity hospital restrictions. We are now almost 20 months into the pandemic yet women are labouring alone and seeing their partners leave after a mere hour spent with their newborn child.
The demand of the campaigners is to return to pre-Covid circumstances for one essential partner. This is in no way unworkable. The fact is that the HSE and the Minister for Health have not pursued this as an objective; they have merely paid lip service to it. The reality is that it is within the Minister's gift to set this as a destination and to make sure that the objective is to return to the pre-Covid restrictions. He has not done so to date. Will he do so? Will the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage ask him to do so, and join with the women and their partners who are outside? They should not have to be there.