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All Stillborn Babies Must Be Included In National Register - Cllr Tóibín

Aontú is resubmitting a Bill which would see all stillborn babies included on a national register irrespective of the length of their gestation or their weight.

Currently only stillborn babies born at 24 weeks or more and weighing 500 grammes or more are included on the register.

Aontú's Cllr Emer Tóibín says

"We are calling for a meeting between the Department of Health, Social protection and the parents of the stillborn babies who are desperately seeking recognition of their babies existence. This issue has been dragging on and on with little progress and it is simply not fair".

"Aontú met again with Caroline Smith from Trim, who has been a tireless advocate for such a register and I have pledged my full support and that of Aontú towards ensuring that legislation is brough forward without any more undue delay. The lack of such a register is continuing to cause untold grief to parents and it has practical adverse ramifications for women's Maternity leave also as if their stillborn babies are not on any register, the women have no entitlement whatsoever to maternity leave".


"He had ten fingers and ten toes and he looked just like his Daddy."

Caroline Smith from Trim Co, Meath smiles as she recounts memories of her precious little baby Stephen, born sleeping in 2015.

Caroline, who with her Husband, Martin, is speaking out to highlight the continuing lack of the expansion of the Stillborn Register in this country. Currently the register only covers babies born at 24 weeks or more and weighing 500 grammes or more.

She says this narrow definition of stillbirth causes untold stress and anguish to thousands of parents throughout the country who feel let down and excluded.

She says,

"The definition as set out in the Stillbirths Registration Act of 1994, which was repealed in the Civil Registration Act of 2004, refers to a "child born weighing 500 grammes or more or having a gestational age of 24 weeks or more who shows no sign of life".

"Stephen didn't 'meet' this criteria' so we have no official recognition whatsoever of his birth".

"It is a very cold and blunt instrument. Stephen was born at 20 weeks and 2 days. He weighed 420 grammes. He was tiny but he was real, he was precious to us and we want him recognised".

"We were only informed that Stephen wouldn't get a stillborn certificate when I was in labour. Imagine that. We were told he wouldn't be 'big enough' ... They gave Martin a coffin for him; we found this absolutely mind boggling as on one hand we were told he wasn't 'big enough' to warrant an official state certificate of his birth , on the other hand we were being told we needed a coffin for him".

"How on earth does that make sense".

"I don't for a second blame the medical team, they were just giving us the information, what the law says".

How do you make peace with something that we know is real.

"I have three birth certs for my daughters, I have nothing for Stephen. It's like he never existed. But he very much did".

"There's still stigma and shame around the issue. We are made to feel ashamed as if our babies are some kind of a 'dirty secret'. This heaps additional and unnecessary pain on families who quite frankly have gone through enough".

"People are afraid that they'll hurt us if they talk about our babies, well I can speak for thousands of parents and say if you don't talk about our babies, you'll hurt us". He comes with me everywhere; I have his little footprints tattooed on my shoulders and cast in iron in our home".

"I don't think it's intentional, they just don't know what to say to us".

"Very importantly also is the fact that there is no maternity leave for a woman who has given birth to a stillborn baby that doesn't meet the current criteria. This is yet one more anomaly around the whole story of little stillborn babies".

"It's absolutely bizarre and it's cruel".

"Coming home from hospital with 'empty arms' is absolutely devastating and brutal. It goes against everything expectant women have longed and hoped for and it goes against nature. It's emotionally and physically devastating. Not only do they have to deal with the loss of their beautiful babies, but they also have to do in a work environment. They have no 'cushion' to grieve so to speak of. They are absolutely shattered. It's cruel and it's not fair and we want that changed. We have been looking for this for too long now.".

"Mothers, as that is what we are, we have brought new life into the world, irrespective of the fact that our littles ones are 'stillborn', must deal with all the devastation without the comfort of some Maternity Leave".

"I am lucky I am so supported by wonderful Husband, family and friends but many women don't have that and the lack of official recognition of the existence of their babies serves only to compound this."

"Our Stephen was here for one week; his sisters cuddled and adored him. He existed and we will not rest until that is recognised. He deserves that and we, his family, will ensure he gets it".

By Aontú Press | 2 April, 2024

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The Irish political system is radically broken

In Ireland the vast majority of elected representatives put a finger in the air to check which way the political wind is blowing. They have one eye on their leaders – seeking brownie points – and another eye keeping their seat safe. If elected reps shut up and do as they’re told, they are promoted; if they stand up for what they believe in, they are demoted. No wonder we have the political class we have. No wonder one point one billion euro is being buried in a hole under the National Children’s Hospital and that Stormont is in stalemate.

Throughout Ireland, many people are now afraid to say what they feel, many are afraid to respectfully engage on a range of different topics. Many feel there is a new censorship and a new political correctness in Ireland, that opposition to the establishment is being deleted.

Respectful opposition is not the enemy. Respectful opposition is a critical element of a functional democracy. Aontú will have the backbone to stand up, without fear, for you.