It is time for the establishment of a national committee on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), a Fine Gael TD has said.
Offaly TD, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, who is Deputy Chair of the Oireachtas Women’s Caucus and Co-Chair of the Oireachtas Special Interest Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, has called for a new committee to deal with the issue of FGM and to help protect the vulnerable women affected by it.
“I first raised this issue with the Taoiseach at a Fine Gael Parliamentary Party last year and I welcome the fact that we have had progress on the issue of FGM since.
“My colleague the, Minister of State at the Department of Health, Catherine Byrne, informed me that 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. They raise awareness and provide information on the detrimental effects of FGM, and that it is a criminal offence in Ireland.
“This is all really welcome progress and it is also very good to see a focus on FGM in the HSE’s intercultural health strategy.
“However it is time for the establishment of a national committee, led by Government, to focus completely on FGM. Ideally it would co-ordinate the approach of the relevant Government Departments, State agencies and other stakeholders such as NGOs. This is the best way to help support the most vulnerable women affected by FGM, which is widely understood to be a barbaric practise with lasting effects on the ill health of women.”