Two high-profile senators deny claims that they were involved in a heated verbal altercation in a corridor of Leinster House over who could attend a briefing on Irish gender services.
Independent Senator Lynn Ruane has downplayed a disagreement she had with Independent Senator Michael McDowell, a former Attorney General, after she told him she wanted to bring people working with her on transgender health policy to a briefing, which he organized with clinicians from the National Gender Service last month.
Mr McDowell, who co-organized the briefing with another former Attorney General, Charlie Flanagan, insisted it was only for Oireachtas members and their staff.
Ms Ruane insisted it should be open to others, arguing that is how briefings by outside experts in Leinster House’s audiovisual room usually went. Journalists were barred from the briefing, which took place on November 16.
She acknowledged there were “disagreements” when she discussed the matter with Mr McDowell but insisted there were no issues between them.
Sources close to the former minister, who did not respond to a request for comment, acknowledged the dispute but insisted “everyone was friends” afterwards.
Senator Sharon Keogan, however, claimed she overheard a heated argument in the corridor outside her office in LH2000 and complained that the two senators had been “utterly disrespectful” to each other and to other senators
“That [Oireachtas] Dignity and respect document are just words on paper,” she told the Sunday independent. Other sources claimed there was a “real riot.” Another source said, “Charlie and Michael dipped their toe in the culture war and Lynn rightly called them out.”
TD Neasa Hourigan of the Greens had already unsuccessfully urged the two former justice ministers to invite a wider range of speakers.
Finally, Ms Ruane brought her guests to the briefing invited to outline the current situation for people living with gender dysphoria in Ireland.
Speakers included Donal O’Shea, NGS Consultant Endocrinologist and Ian Schneider, NGS Consultant Psychiatrist, and Fiona McNicholas, Professor of Child Psychiatry at UCD and Consultant at Children’s Hospital Ireland Crumlin. Among those in attendance was Junior Health Secretary Mary Butler.
Mr Flanagan said the main aim of the briefing was to hear where NGS stands and what processes it is involved in.
“There were members from all parties. It went for an hour. The interest was so great that we could discuss for another hour,” said the Fine Gael TD.
Mr Flanagan said NGS doctors had raised questions about funding. Attendees said the event was well attended and civic. “Every LGBTQI+ worker in the area has made it their mission,” one claimed.
NGS doctors have called for the suspension of use of the Tavistock Clinic in England for children in Ireland following a highly critical report. Mr Flanagan said he was concerned about use of the “discredited” service.
There has been a delay in expanding services to adults and young people in Ireland due to an internal HSE dispute over the model of care, details of which have been released by the Sunday independent in October.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/senators-lynn-ruane-and-michael-mcdowell-deny-heated-row-over-gender-services-briefing-42193688.html Senators Lynn Ruane and Michael McDowell deny ‘heated’ argument over gender services briefing