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Rotunda board members discuss ‘ethics’ of Real Bodies exhibition

Minutes from a general board meeting of the maternity hospital, held in March, showed that the exhibition currently ongoing in the Ambassador Theatre, was raised at the meeting.

A headline within the minutes read “Ambassador Theatre’s Bodies Exhibition/Ethical Issue”, but the rest of the discussion on the topic was redacted.

The Rotunda Hospital owns the Ambassador Theatre and leases the building for events, one-off concerts and exhibitions.

The Real Bodies exhibition displays preserved human bodies and allows visitors to observe the human anatomy, through 14 preserved bodies and more than 200 anatomical specimens.

But it has attracted controversy because the personal origins of the bodies, which according to organisers have been donated, are largely unknown.

The exhibition has appeared in Ireland previously (going on display in the Ambassador Theatre in 2009) and across Europe. However, many people have questioned the ethics around placing human remains on public display.

A spokesperson for the Rotunda said that the Real Bodies exhibition was briefly discussed, as the hospital leases the building in which it is being held.

“The point was made at the meeting that the hospital does not have control over the Ambassador, and any events which are held within it, or the ethics associated with same,” said the spokesperson.

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