Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Ceisteanna (746)

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy


746. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Health the status of plans to establish an interagency committee to develop a national action plan on female genital mutilation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13360/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The practice of Female Genital Mutilation has been an offence in Ireland since 2012, when the Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Act 2012 provided for the creation of an offence of female genital mutilation and other offences relating to female genital mutilation.

The HSE is responsible for addressing the health implications arising from FGM. Girls and women who have undergone FGM are at risk of suffering from health complications throughout their lives. The HSE is committed to progressing health-related elements of FGM with specific reference to awareness-raising among communities, staff information, training of healthcare providers and other relevant frontline professionals, and support for survivors of FGM and those at risk, in addition to data collection.

The HSE has funded and disseminated an FGM resource pack for health professionals and relevant staff in maternity and associated settings. The HSE funds a specialist clinic operated by the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA) for girls and women who have undergone FGM. Furthermore, the HSE funds AkiDwA to work closely with at-risk communities to raise awareness and provide information on the detrimental effects of FGM, and that it is a criminal offence in Ireland.

In January this year, my colleague the Minister of State with responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton and I launched the new HSE Intercultural Health Strategy. It contains two actions on FGM:

- Continue to develop and implement education and public awareness campaigns, among all health professionals and communities affected by female genital mutilation (FGM), to raise awareness that it is a criminal offence under the Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Act (2012) to perform FGM, or to remove a girl from the State for the purpose of FGM.

- Provide training to increase the knowledge and competence of healthcare providers, and other relevant frontline professionals, in relation to appropriate care and protection for FGM survivors and women and girls at risk nationwide.

I acknowledge and support this important work and discussions regarding further actions on FGM are ongoing.