Workers’ Party calls for external investigation into alleged abortion data leak

An external investigation needs to be conducted into alleged abortion data breaches, the Workers’ Party has said.

It comes after the personal details of a patient were allegedly leaked following an abortion at a Dublin hospital.

A group of protesters wearing symbolic rat masks held a demonstration outside the Department of Health on Dublin’s Baggot Street today to highlight the issue.

The Health Minister Simon Harris has asked the HSE to conduct an internal investigation into the matter.

But the Workers’ Party says the review does not go far enough – they want an external examination into the alleged patient information breach.

Councillor Eilis Ryan said they don’t trust the HSE to conduct an internal investigation.

“We believe an external investigation is warranted,” Ms Ryan said.

“We also think given this woman was actually targeted that it warrants speaking to the Gardai about what the appropriate procedure is there.”

Seamus McDonagh from Kells, Co Meath, who attended the protest, said he was very concerned about the alleged breaches.

“It’s a very important issue,” he said.

“Somebody has to be held to account over this. We can’t allow this to escalate and get out of hand. What happens in the long term if it escalates and it breaks out and is happening in Limerick, Cork and elsewhere?

“It would make a shambles of the whole thing. The vote was taken, more than 64% of the people voted for abortion. We have to respect the democratic rights of people.”

A message posted on Twitter last week claimed that a woman who had a medical abortion in a maternity hospital in the capital was contacted days later by a man asking her to “re-book a scan”.

The woman claimed the man who contacted her told her she was “disgusting” for having an abortion.

The person was using a phone number linked to a rogue abortion counselling service and an anonymous Twitter account.

A spokeswoman for Mr Harris last week said he has been quite clear abortion services should be viewed as a normalised part of the health service and that “women accessing that service should not be subjected to any intimidation or harassment”.

- Press Association

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