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A talk by Dr Caitriona Henchion, Medical Director of the Irish Family Planning Association (IFPA), and Dr Maeve Eogan, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, had already been scheduled before the recent controversy following comments made by Dr Ali Selim (PhD), spokesperson for the Islamic Cultural Centre, Clonskeagh, to the Medical Independent (MI).
The IFPA runs a specialist clinic for women who have endured FGM, with a clinical pathway into the Rotunda where surgical care can be provided.
An RCPI spokesperson pointed out that the management of women with FGM is a core training module in obstetrics and gynaecology and that Prof Chris Fitzpatrick, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, has also been working with the Ifrah Foundation and the Global Media Campaign to End FGM.
Meanwhile, a Department of Health spokesperson informed MI this week (14 February) that it had not been in contact with Clonskeagh Mosque or with its Imam following Dr Selim’s comments to MI in support of “female circumcision” – also known as FGM – when mandated by a doctor. In MI, on social media and other commentary, medical professionals have unequivocally stated that there is no medical indication for FGM. Many members of the Muslim community – including doctors – have also strongly rejected an Islamic context to FGM, which is practised by communities of different faiths.
Minister for Health Simon Harris said: “Female genital mutilation is never, ever justifiable. It has no place in healthcare, is illegal, dangerous and can have a devastating impact. It is a violation of human rights.”
A Department spokesperson said the Criminal Justice (Female Genital Mutilation) Act 2012 “takes a human rights perspective and stipulates that the right to practise one’s cultural traditions and beliefs cannot be used to justify FGM”. They added that the HSE is “committed” to progressing health-related elements of FGM with specific reference to awareness-raising among communities, staff information and support. The HSE provides funding to AkiDwA “to facilitate working with target communities and at-risk communities around raising awareness of the illegality of FGM and provide information and awareness activities about FGM and the risks of this practice”. It also funds the IFPA’S FGM clinic.
The Department of Justice did not provide comment on whether Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan or officials had been in touch with Clonskeagh Mosque.