Councillor Danielle Twomey Calls for Automatic Inquest into Maternal Deaths in Childbirth

By Seamus Whelehan


Sinn Féin Councillor Danielle Twomey has asked Dáil Éireann to enact a stalled bill designed to reform coroner’s court legislation.

The expectant mother made a heartfelt plea to the government at the February sitting of Cork County Council, for an automatic inquest into all maternal deaths during child birth.

She said it was important the legislation is enacted.

“By providing meaningful data it would mean the maternity service could suitably assess its performance and continue to strive for excellence.”

A report published by the Maternal Death Enquiry, based in UCC has found that the number of maternal deaths in Ireland has risen sharply and that our pregnancy death rate is now higher than the UK.

There was a 22% increase in maternal deaths between 2010 – 2012. The report compiled from information from a number of sources suggested, the number of maternal deaths were four times higher than those recorded by the Central Statistics Office.

For the period between 2011 and 2013 there were a total of 27 maternal deaths nationally, of these deaths there were inquests granted for only 3.

“Since the bill passed its second stage in December 2015 there have been two more maternal deaths, leaving six children without their mother.” “No one knows the full total of children left without their mothers since 2011 because there have not been inquests for all maternal deaths.” Councillor Twomey stated.

The Midleton based Councillor’s proposal was seconded by Councillor Paul Hayes who said the “bill will not change the outcome, but it would give solas to partners and families who are spending years looking for closure”.

While Fianna Fáil Councillor Joe carol said he could not see why there could not be an automatic inquest.