Last weekend the Irish Times revealed that Ms Y, the young asylum seeker who sought an abortion in Ireland under the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act recently, was arrested in Liverpool a number of weeks before she gave birth by Caesarian section.
In a document uncovered by the Irish Times journalist, Kitty Holland, Ms Y was alleged to have illegally entered the UK on July 1, by ferry, five weeks before giving birth to a baby boy in Ireland.
The Times reported that she was detained at the ferry port and despite telling immigration services she was pregnant and wished to harm herself, she was noted as being at medium risk of self-harm.
The Irish Times also reported that the document did not make it clear how Ms Y returned to Ireland and that this information was not included in the draft HSE report into her case.
Speaking to Campus.ie, Kitty Holland explains: “We don’t know what happened afterwards. Her solicitor is still trying to establish what happened to her after she was released from custody. She was held for 11 hours by Merseyside police and she was released. We don’t know how she got back or what happened to her after that.”
When asked why her original interview with Ms Y, published in the Irish Times on August 19, did not include this detail, Ms. Holland explains that she was unaware at the time that Ms Y had made the journey to the UK.
“What she did was actually illegal so I would imagine that she would be quite fearful before she got her refugee status that it would be found out. An asylum seeker obviously has to have the permission of the Minister for Justice to leave, so she could have had her refugee status refused,” Holland says.
Holland had only been made aware of the situation after Ms Y had told her own solicitor that she had travelled to the UK for a termination of pregnancy. Ms Y’s solicitor had received the custody records, detailing the detention, from Merseyside police in Liverpool.
Holland has not seen Ms Y since meeting her in August, however she hopes to meet her again this coming week. “I’ve been in touch with her friend and the friend was saying that she’d like to see me again,” she explained.
Regarding the impact the issue of abortion has on students and young people, Holland says that she considers it, ‘an issue that does impact greatly’, on students more than some other groups.
Speaking to Campus.ie in response to the newest revelations in the Ms Y case, United Left TD, Clare Daly was unable to comment to a great extent as she had yet to read the Irish Times article.
However Deputy Daly did say that if the newest information was correct, the situation was ‘horrendous’ and ‘even worse’ than previously believed.
“The whole thing brings centre-stage the need to repeal the Eighth Amendment and bring in proper legislation or regulation to deal with all of the circumstances why a woman might need an abortion. That’s what really shows and that’s what we’re working towards,” she added.
On the the issue of termination in cases of fatal foetal abnormalities and the bill she put forward to deal with the issue, Daly explained: “We don’t think you’d have to change the Constitution to legislate for [it] but unfortunately [our bill] wasn’t selected for discussion.
“There’s no doubt there’s going to be more fatalities unless they start dealing with these issues.”
Ms. Daly said she had ‘absolutely’ no intention to end her fight to repeal the 1983 amendment, adding that she hoped to use her Private Members time in the Dáil in December or January to discuss repealing the amendment.
Meanwhile People Before Profit Alliance TD, Richard Boyd Barrett described the latest Ms Y revelations as, “another shocking indictment of the hypocrisy of the Irish laws on abortion and the spectacular, disgraceful failure of our government to own up to the reality of abortion and of women’s lives in this country.”
In response to the Prime Time report last week, in relation to women traveling back to Ireland before the termination of their pregnancies was complete, Deputy Boyd Barrett said: “That’s just beyond belief and I know because I lost a child from foetal fatal abnormalities.
“It is beyond barbaric that the Government, even on that issue alone, are not willing to allow women to make the choice here and to send them in the most unbelievable situation over to Britain. I mean they should just hang their heads in shame.”