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 A 'Rats Out of the HSE' protest took place today outside the Department of Health's office in Dublin, following a leak of patient information.

The woman had legally obtained an abortion, but was then phoned and harassed by anti-abortion groups, according to TheJournal.ie

The protesters were calling for better protection of confidential patient information and for an external investigation to be launched after last week's data breaches.

Roughly 12 people took part in the protest at lunchtime, carrying placards and holding cut-out rat masks at Miesian Plaza.

A number of investigations were launched last week into the shocking claims.

A woman had an abortion at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin, otherwise known as Holles Street, and was later verbally abused over the phone by a man who had somehow obtained her personal information.

On Friday, anti-abortion protesters stated that they were given information on when abortions were scheduled to occur at Our Lady Of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.

Councillor Éilis Ryan of The Workers’ Party has said the HSE needed to clearly explain the steps it had taken to ensure that staff were providing abortion services in a trustworthy, fair and transparent manner.

"It doesn’t seem that any thought was put into how to change the culture of our hospitals to ensure people who might have anti-choice feelings themselves are not biased in how they carry out their healthcare provision”.

Her worry regarding the ability of our healthcare services to adapt without bias is felt by many.

Health Minister Simon Harris has admitted that an internal probe will take place, but “given the scale of scandals linking to the HSE in recent years we don’t feel that an internal investigation can be trusted or is sufficient”, according to Ryan.


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She feels that Gabriel Scally is trustworthy, after he carried out the Cervical Check screening programme review.

Simon Harris said on Friday  that it was “extraordinarily concerning and disturbing” that a patient’s details of her own abortion could possibly become public.

"The idea that anybody might leak a woman’s confidential information is reprehensible, it is grotesque, it’s disgusting and that is why I asked the HSE yesterday to investigate the matter and report back."

The HSE, the Dublin Well Woman Clinic, the National Maternity Hospital and the Data Protection Commissioner are apparently making inquiries regarding the apparent incident. 

Cover image: Twitter/@michelledevane



A number of weeks ago, the news broke that The Irish Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform intended to demonstrate at Irish airports to discourage women from leaving the country to seek abortions.

While both Cork and Dublin airport stated that they would not be allowing the protests, the manifesto of the 'NGO' continues to state that two weeks of demonstrations are getting underway.

The group released a statement today saying that Dublin, Belfast and Manchester will be the locations of their first protests tomorrow, after recent governmental decisions surrounding the financial implications of procuring abortions.

'In light of the recent decision made by the British government to pay for abortions for Northern Irish women travelling to England, three major pro-life groups are coordinating a massive, visual response,' reads the statement.

'Precious Life of Northern Ireland, ICBR of Ireland and Abort67 of England will be holding simultaneous public education displays in Belfast, Dublin and Manchester on Saturday 29 July 2017.'

'They will be displaying large graphic images of aborted babies, to show the humanity of the unborn child and expose the horrific reality of abortion which the abortion industry strives to keep hidden from Irish women travelling to England for the procedure.'

The protests will take place at Belfast Airport, Airport Spur, Manchester and on Dame Street, Dublin.

'This is about the abortion industry expanding business and increasing profits off the blood of Irish babies,' said Ruth Rawlins, spokesperson for Abort67.

'We want to send a loud and clear message to the public that we stand with both Northern Ireland and Ireland and their right to protect unborn Irish citizens from abortion.”

The group previously received backlash from the public for their intended demonstrations. 

The group emphasised the use of graphic, questionable imagery in their pursuit of 'education,' with the former demonstrations being titled 'Ireland Airport Education Project.'

ICBR have been contacted for comment.