Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Questions (240)

Billy Timmins

Question:

240. Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Health the persons who framed the terms of reference for the expert group on the A, B and C report on abortion; if there were draft guidelines; the persons involved in drawing up the terms of reference and the brief they received from him on the matter; the groups or organisations that were requested to supply recommendations; and if they were selected, the person who selected and approved the nominations; how often and when the group met and if the discussion notes are available; the members, if any, that resigned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21892/13]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I wish to inform the Deputy that the terms of reference for the Expert Group on the Judgment in A, B & C v Ireland were initially drawn up by the relevant officials in my Department, with reference to the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights. They were discussed by Government and approved on the 29th November 2011.

The membership of the Expert Group was chosen and appointed by the Minister, in consultation with the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste, and agreed by Government. In terms of its composition, it was agreed that, in order to fulfil its remit, the Group would require experts representing the fields of obstetrics, general practice, psychiatry, law, public policy and professional regulation. The Irish College of General Practitioners, the Institute of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland, An Bord Altranais, the Medical Council and the Office of the Attorney General were asked to put forward nominations to the Expert Group. The Group therefore consisted of members who have been selected on the basis of their medical, legal, and policy expertise. The Chair of the Group, the Honourable Justice Mr Sean Ryan, is a High Court Judge. One member of the Expert Group resigned.

The Expert Group met nine times during the period January to November 2012. Minutes of each meeting are held in the Department of Health.