Micheal Martin admits there is "no good reason" for maternity hospitals to restrict visits from partners
Labour TD Alan Kelly described the restrictions as "barbaric" during a discussion in the Dáil on Tuesday.
Taoiseach Micheal Martin has admitted that there is "no good reason" for maternity hospitals to continue to restrict visits from birth partners.
Speaking in Dáil Éireann on Tuesday, Labour TD Alan Kelly described the maternity restrictions as "barbaric" and called on the Taoiseach to allow husbands and partners to attend appointments.
"Week on week I raise this issue and I will do until it is resolved, and that is the issue of partners and husbands of pregnant women in maternity services," he said.
"Husbands and partners can go to Penneys this week, click and collect clothes for their children, they can buy equipment, they can get their hair cut, but they can't attend maternity services.
"You said it's wrong, the CMO of the HSE said it's wrong, the Chief Executive of the HSE said it's wrong, the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan said yesterday there was no good reason for maternity hospitals to restrict visits from partners.
"Who is in charge? I often hear you and I say it myself at times, 'clinical decision', realistically here, this is barbaric, this is wrong - Taoiseach, when will we have consistency across the board with all maternity services being there and partners and husbands being allowed in at critical moments?"
Martin replied by saying he "agrees 100%" and there is "no need" for the maternity restrictions.
He added that given the success of the vaccination programme, appointments should be allowed to resume.
"I agree 100%, there is no need now for the restrictions at all. I said it last week in this house," Martin said.
"The Chief Medical Officer has said that given the success of the vaccination programme, particularly within the healthcare setting and suppression of the virus with most frontline healthcare workers, and the high level of vaccination across the country, with proper precautions, the partners should be."
Kelly hit back by asking the Taoiseach "Why isn't it happening then? Who is in charge?"
Martin added that he has "already spoken to the CEO of the HSE in relation to this matter" and has been meeting with clinical directors across multiple hospitals to "facilitate such access" in the coming weeks.