Maternity Hospitals in Ireland / Open Letter to Stephen Donnelly

October 17, 2020 § Leave a comment

My home country of Ireland has a long history- and present- of violating the rights of women across myriad metrics: from the Magdalene laundries to the low prosecutions in rape cases to the wage disparity that is still ongoing and on and on…

The current situation we all find ourselves in with the pandemic has already proven to be taking its toll most on the women of the world, again across many (very easily accessed by googling) metrics. This post is about a specific situation here that is both close to my heart as a woman and as a sister to a woman pregnant with twins due to give birth in the next ten days…

“the World Health Organisation states: ‘All women have the right to a safe and positive childbirth experience, whether or not they have a confirmed COVID-19 infection.’

You are still entitled to:

  • Respect and dignity
  • A companion of choice
  • Clear communication by maternity staff
  • Pain relief strategies
  • And mobility where possible and birth position of choice”

(Taken from https://myexpertmidwife.ie/blogs/my-expert-midwife/human-birth-rights-in-a-pandemic )

Ireland is currently in violation of this, as can be seen by reading the stories on https://www.instagram.com/inourshoes_covidpregnancy/ 

I have been infuriated reading the stories and also at the way my sister has not been allowed to have me with her during scans- a lot of which could have been bad news for her as she has had- and continues to have- a very challenging pregnancy with many issues throughout. I wrote a letter to our health minster Stephen Donnelly on October 1st and the only response I received was:

Dear Ms. Kilty,
The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly T.D.has asked me to acknowledge receipt of your recent email regarding maternity restrictions.
Yours sincerely,
Miriam Rooney.
Private Secretary to the Minister for Health

So now I am posting it here in the hopes that more people will be made aware of what is going on and perhaps feel moved to also write to him and perhaps he or our Taoiseach or our Tánaiste or our president or SOMEONE in our government will address this situation with an actual plan moving forward where the human rights of our pregnant women are honoured instead of the same old scéal we Irish women have been dealing with since time began…

Dear Mr. Donnelly

I would like to know when the horrific and inhumane policy of leaving women without their partners through scans, birth and the days that follow the birth will end? As you are I am sure aware, this goes against WHO’s recommendations and is viewed as a human right’s violation by them and from seeing the situation across Europe and how other countries are handling it, by all of them too.

I and a number of others have been tagging you in the ‘inourshoes’ instagram account highlighting stories from women going through the experience of giving birth- an always physically, mentally and emotionally taxing experience- now doing it alone. There are not enough midwives and nurses to give full support to these women, it is their partner that provides them with the needed personal care, and that’s without mentioning the husbands, wives, partners and birthing partners not getting to meet the baby for however long the mother and/or baby needs to be in hospital. 

As someone with children, I am sure you are aware of the importance of the partner being there for the new mother and if not, I’m sure your wife could tell you. And I am also sure you would feel distraught knowing your wife and/or baby was in distress and you were not there to help… I understand that these are unprecedented times but it seems there has been no thought whatsoever given to the mental health implications to any of the covid measures that have been brought in- mental health IS your health. And women’s health as always is put last- we have cervical checks on hold and women giving birth without their all important support system, not to mention those holding dying babies in their arms alone.

I have a vested interest in this as someone who is the birth partner for my sister- she is pregnant with twins, doing it on her own, and has had serious complications throughout her pregnancy. She NEEDS support in the days that will follow her c-section. It is just not possible for the hospital to give it to her as the nurses have all the mothers and babies born that day in their care. Is the government going to pay for the mental health support she and every other woman doing this may need after the experience? Or is this another case of it’s ‘only women’ so who bloody cares what they are going through? An attitude we have seen for FAR too long in this country… I am certain if it were men that gave birth, this would not even be a debate, and certainly Prof. Shane “appropriate and pragmatic” Higgins would have a more rounded view of what care is.

I understand it has been brought up in the Dáil and guidelines are apparently being put together by a Dr. Peter McKenna- WHY is it not a woman doctor, preferably one who has been through birth, perhaps one who has been through a tough birth, putting together the guidelines?? Perhaps then empathy wouldn’t be required, just compassion. And compassion is needed.

With that, I understand what a challenging job you find yourself in. And I need you to understand what a challenging job birth is for these women- please SUPPORT THEM. Please buck the trend of men making decisions that impact women in the harshest ways and stand up for women instead- not by doing what a group of men think is best for them but by LISTENING TO WOMEN AND DOING THAT INSTEAD. We know what is best for us. It is time for us to be heard and trusted with our own health- as we can see in the cervical check tragedy, it is PAST time for women to be heard.

With wishes for health for you and yours- please support the health of my sister and all other women going through pregnancy and birth.

Le meas, Laura 

Laura LAIR / Autumnal Equinox

September 22, 2020 § Leave a comment

LAIR / The Department of Energy

February 1, 2020 § Leave a comment

I’m honoured to be part of this mix tape celebrating Imbolc, created by The Department of Energy

The first release from The Department of Energy is inspired by the tributaries and tribulations of Cork’s Lee Valley. This Landscape Mixtape contains potcheen anecdotes, airborne survey planes, archive material, drowned houses, hard ambience, alluvial oak woods, unidentified flying objects, a lost mp3, a broken wav, 1980’s radio, 2020 visions, fast eddies, sloe meanders, preliminary research, semi-state bodies, statements of intent, folklore, feathered friends and the knowledge of salmon.

In the 1950’s the ESB flooded parts of the Lee Valley, when they built two hydroelectric dams to power Cork city. Gerry O’Riordan’s memories of this event (interviewed by Dr Richard Scriven for his Cork Is The Lee podcast) form part of the mixtape, alongside layers of local field recordings made by the Department of Energy over the past 12 months and extracts from some 39 year old cassettes. Have you ever noticed how a fast flowing stream sounds like environmental tape hiss?

Recently resurfaced tracks by DOE members (Mercury.mp3 & Borderland.wav) sit next to newer arrangements by Local Gods, all counterpointed by two fathoms-deep meditations from LAIR“⁠

The Department of Energy was inspired by a GAA pitch, a white quartz standing stone, an electrical station and a stream. That was February last year and since then we’ve made recordings, taken photographs and just sat and listened, all over the Lee Valley.

That raw material has been shaped into a Landscape Mixtape for your listening pleasure. It will be publicly streaming this Saturday – Brigid’s day. We’ll have our first physical release on the first of May. And something to mark every Celtic festival thereafter.”

LAIR / Passage

June 12, 2018 § Leave a comment

LAIR / Open Ear /Sherkin Island

May 24, 2018 § Leave a comment

I will be playing a live-set on Sunday at Open Ear next weekend (May 31st-June 3rd on Sherkin Island). Right now you can hear my newest track exclusively on their website and Soundcloud and you can hear a teaser of it below.

https://openear.ie/news/lair-passage-open-ear-exclusive

Feeling the wildness of the Irish coastline coursing through my being brings me inner peace and serenity- I made ‘Passage’ while tapping into that vibration…

24 Hours of Women’s Voices / Mixcloud

March 15, 2018 § Leave a comment

Mná na hÉireann 💚 24 Hours of Women’s Voices

You can now listen back to all the amazing shows from last week on the DDR mixcloud

Tá mo chlár ‘Visions’ anseo:

 

LAIR / Aisling

June 9, 2016 § Leave a comment

The tracks Ar Ais, Ais and Aisling are all variations on a theme. The titles are all Irish words (as in, in the Irish language).

I don’t tend to explain my music but as I am feeling drawn to use Irish a lot in titles and lyrics within tracks I am currently writing, I thought it might be of interest to non-Irish speakers to know how to pronounce and to have a definition of the titles.

‘Ar Ais’ is pronounced like you would say the words ‘air ash’ in English. ‘Ais’, again, sounds like ‘ash’. And ‘Aisling’ sounds like ‘ash-ling’.

I wrote these tracks as I was preparing to leave Ireland to come here to the US, saying goodbye in a more final way than I have previously done in all my years of travelling.

The Irish language often doesn’t directly translate- I think that is really reflected in how Irish people express themselves in what is the first language for most of us nowadays in Ireland, English. There can be layers of meanings, depending on context and intonation, within a word or sentence.

I feel these titles express the many layers in terms of what I am referencing and expressing through the music but you need to understand the ‘top layer’ to be able to get to another-

Ais means ‘return’

Ar Ais means ‘to return’ or to go back

Ar can also mean ‘on’, so the title is referencing that the track is based on the track Ais

Aisling means ‘dream’ or ‘vision’

Aisling is also the name of a very important style of poetry- in these poems, Ireland appears to the poet in a vision in the form of a woman

Perhaps understanding the words and then having some context of when I wrote the music will give you new insight into the tracks themselves. Either way, I hope you enjoy listening!

Laura LAIR

 

 

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