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DoH ‘endorsement’ sought on FGM plan

According to a HSE spokesperson, the action plan is presently under development as a “collaborative initiative of statutory and voluntary agencies”. This is to ensure an “integrated approach to addressing the health and support needs of members of affected cohorts,” she said. It is hoped the plan will be launched before the end of September.

The Executive spokesperson noted that Minister of State for Primary Care Alex White had “welcomed development of the plan and assured support for it” at the launch of a specialised FGM primary care clinic in Dublin last year.

This first national action plan on FGM was set over the period 2008-2011. However, while the HSE and Irish Aid were represented on the National Steering Committee that developed the strategy, no department or statutory agency assumed overall responsibility for its implementation.

Meanwhile, the HSE has informed MI that “no official instances of performance of FGM being practised in Ireland appear to have been recorded”.

Some 3,780 immigrant women between the ages of 15 and 44 residing in Ireland are estimated to have undergone FGM at some point in their lives, according to Female Genital Mutilation: Information for Health-Care Professionals Working in Ireland, published in 2013 by migrant women’s network Akidwa, the HSE and the RCSI.

In May 2014, Ireland’s first specialised clinic for victims of the practice — which may be perpetrated for so-called cultural or religious reasons — opened in Dublin.

The clinic is run by the Irish Family Planning Association, with funding support from the HSE. The allocation for 2015 was €30,000. The Executive also funds Akidwa to “deliver education awareness programmes to target communities”.

The Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Act 2012 provides for a specific offence of FGM. Under the Act, it is also illegal to remove a girl or woman from the State for the purposes of FGM.

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