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The Rotunda docu-series criticised by Micheál Martin & Stephen Donnelly

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has responded to public outrage over the fact that RTÉ were allowed to go into Dublin maternity hospital, The Rotunda, to film their compelling docu-series about the nature of childbirth, while fathers and partners of pregnant women were banished to the carpark.

A new episode of The Rotunda, a highly popular Irish documentary series aired on RTÉ this past Wednesday, and was filmed throughout the pandemic, starting before Covid-19 vaccinations were introduced into the country

Upon viewing the recent episode, viewers around the country were shocked and disgruntled that a film crew were able to enter the maternity hospital, while visitation restrictions have been so harsh.

Furthermore, there has also been a lot of negative feedback regarding the programme’s lack of coverage given to the brutal maternity restrictions which parents across Ireland have had to endure over the past 18 months.

Commenting on the RTÉ programme, the Taoiseach has said, “I don’t think it is appropriate that if partners were denied access that a TV crew should be allowed in.”

“I think there has to be consistency in terms of decision making. I am not privy to the clinical decision making in respect of the Rotunda, but I do think there has to be consistency,” he said, before reiterating that “we can’t have one set of guidance for partners and another set of guidelines for the media when we are talking about Covid-19.”

Equally unhappy with the broadcast, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said, “I think we certainly deserve an explanation and a statement from the Rotunda.”

“RTÉ should have known better,” said Fianna Fáil Senator Lisa Chambers, who was “disgusted” when she saw the programme.

"If they had actually documented what it was like to be pregnant and give birth during Covid then maybe you could understand it but they didn’t do that at all," she said.

Despite the sheer volume of negative feedback, RTÉ have confirmed that they are planning to air the remaining episodes in the series as planned.

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