'A Violation Against Women' Opening Speech by Dr Harry Barry

Dr Harry Barry officially launched A Violation Against Women: What Happened to Me at Our Lady of Lourdes by Kathleen Ward. Dr Barry is a medical doctor based in Louth and specialises in the area of mental health and, in particular, depression and anxiety. He is the author of several bestselling books, including Flagging the Screenager. We've reposted Dr Barry's introduction below.

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'It is a great pleasure to be asked to launch Kathleen’s book – ‘A Violation against women’. Kathleen is an extraordinary woman and it has been a privilege to know her.

It is entirely appropriate that we are launching this book in Drogheda – as the Lourdes Hospital has unfortunately become synonymous nationally with a particular period of history of poor obstetric care, lack of appropriate supervision, followed by a shameful lack of accountability by those responsible at many different levels for the safety and well – being of women in their care.

Is there anything more important than the emergence of new life into the world – the birth of a child and the safety of the mother who brings this miracle about? The least women who enter our hospitals to deliver new babies into the world should expect is kindness, honesty, dignity and above all respect.

And yet during this dark time in our history and indeed for similar periods in the not too recent past – women have not received this level of care and indeed their lives and bodies have been put at risk by levels of care which are often not acceptable.

Out of this darkness – Kathleen has shone a light and has been a brave and often solitary voice for so many women who have not been treated with the dignity and respect and levels of care that should be the normal in any civilized society.

This book is an extraordinary story of one woman’s fight for recognition and justice against a system which in many cases shamefully tried to side- line and push into a dark corner the injustices carried out by those people hiding behind systems of power and control on unsuspecting women who made only one mistake – that of trusting that those who were tasked with the proper running of our obstetric services at every level.

She was a lone voice crying in the wilderness and all the more to be admired for her courage and bravery in continuing her battle against all the odds. Her book is also the story of what it was like to be reared and live in the Ireland we have all but left behind – the good and the bad.

But most of all for me – it is a wakeup call that the violations against women that have been perpetuated in the past must never be allowed to be repeated and it is the responsibility of us all to make sure this never happens again.

Kathleen you are an extraordinary woman and your family and friends who are here tonight to share this launch will testify to this truth. You have finally, shown a mirror to every man and woman in the Ireland we love so well, reflecting back to us values such as truth, honesty, human respect and dignity that we should all both aspire to and demand from those we allow the privilege of caring for us when we are most vulnerable.'

- Dr Harry Barry, Thursday October 29, 2015