Marie O’Connor with members of Survivors Of Symphysiotomy outside the Department of the Taoiseach in 2014
In the Sunday Business Post.
In a report on the €34million symphysiotomy compensation scheme that the State set up in 2014 for women who had the procedure…
Michael Brennan reported:
The maximum award under the scheme was €150,000 and the legal fees payable on top of this were capped at €6,000.
But the Sunday Business Post has learned that survivors have received letters from a solicitors’ firm seeking addition legal costs out of their awards.
So far, over 200 women have been awarded €50,000 each, another 160 have received €160,000 and 13 have received €150,000.
The firm seeking additional legal costs from these awards is MacGeehin Toale.
It has taken a number of test cases in the courts on behalf of survivors of symphysiotomy, with a view to taking more if they were successful.
A letter previously sent by Colm MacGeehin to a survivor explained that doctors would have to be paid €2,000 to produce a medical report on their injuries. “The cost of these reports can be seen as an investment in cases that, should they succeed, are likely to lead to significant awards,” he wrote.
But so far, around 386 women have decided to accept payments instead from the State’s Symphysiotomy Payments Scheme, which accounts for the majority of those affected.
This means that their legal proceedings are automatically dropped because they had to agree not to take any legal action against the state or the hospitals which performed the operations.
But MacGeehin Toale has been contacting women it represented for further legal costs for work which has not been covered by the state scheme.
Colm MacGeehin has acted as the legal adviser to the Survivors of Symphysiotomy (SoS) campaign group. He is the former husband of the chair of the group, Marie O’Connor.
Their son, barrister Ruadhán Mac Aodháin, has been described by SoS as “the main junior counsel” working on the cases, He also works as a legal adviser to the SoS group.
…She could not be contacted for comment. MacGeehin could also not be contacted for comment.