MA­HONY ASKED IF SHE WOULD BE JAILED FOR SAV­ING A MOTHER’S LIFE

Irish Daily Mail - - News - By Leah McDonald

RHONA Ma­hony be­came the first fe­male Mas­ter of the Na­tional Ma­ter­nity Hospi­tal in Dublin in early 2012.

Be­fore tak­ing up the role, Dr Ma­hony pre­vi­ously worked in the Coombe, the Ro­tunda and the Mater hospitals in Dublin and also in Galway Univer­sity Hospi­tal.

She fin­ished her clin­i­cal train­ing at Birm­ing­ham Women’s Hospi­tal.

She is mar­ried to Howth den­tist Daragh Fa­gan and the cou­ple have four chil­dren, Lorna, Sarah, Daragh and Hugh. All four were born in Holles Street. Dr Ma­hony cap­tured the pub­lic at­ten­tion when she spoke about her pro­fes­sion dur­ing the Oireach­tas de­bates to en­act new abor­tion leg­is­la­tion in Le­in­ster House in 2013.

High­light­ing the fact that abor­tion is still a crim­i­nal of­fence in Ire­land, Dr Ma­hony spoke on the sub­ject to the Oireach­tas’s ex­pert group that was re­port­ing on the Euro­pean Court of Hu­man Rights judg­ment against Ire­land. She said: ‘I need to know that I will not go to jail if I, in good faith, in­ter­vene to save a mother’s life and ter­mi­nate the preg­nancy. And I want to know that she will not go to jail.

‘Doc­tors de­serve the le­gal pro­tec­tion in car­ry­ing out their job.’

Dr Ma­hony, who was born to Una and Donal Ma­hony, grew up in Ra­heny on Dublin’s north­side.

An early achiever, she was at­tend­ing school from the age of three years old.

In a UCD alumni pro­file some years later, she wrote: ‘I was the youngest of three and I’d be watch­ing the others go out the door, so even­tu­ally in des­per­a­tion my mother said, “Right off you go”. ‘And I loved it, I re­ally liked school.’ Dr Ma­hony firmly set her sights on her fu­ture ca­reer in medicine at a very young age, and was de­ter­mined to pur­sue her cho­sen path.

‘I al­ways said I was go­ing to be a doc­tor, right from the age of the first Fisher-Price doc­tor’s kit that I got for Christ­mas,’ she said.

She en­rolled in UCD at 17 and had qual­i­fied with a med­i­cal de­gree by 1994 be­fore tak­ing up an in­tern­ship at St Vin­cent’s Hospi­tal. She quickly found she had a pas­sion for ob­stet­rics and gy­nae­col­ogy.

In Novem­ber 2013, she was forced to de­fend her €45,000 salary ‘top-up’ from pri­vate funds, say­ing she earned the cash for treat­ing pri­vate pa­tients.

She is­sued the ex­pla­na­tion through a PR firm, adding that she had been ‘per­son­ally vil­i­fied’ over the is­sue.

The row arose af­ter doc­u­ments re­leased by the Depart­ment of Health showed the Holles Street hospi­tal boss was earn­ing a com­bined an­nual salary of €281,892. The over­all pre-Hadding­ton Road agree­ment salary dis­closed to the HSE in­cluded a €45,000 ‘pri­vately funded al­lowance’, ac­cord­ing to the doc­u­ments.

The ma­ter­nity hospi­tal was one of 13 or­gan­i­sa­tions iden­ti­fied in an ini­tial HSE au­dit as us­ing pri­vate funds to sup­ple­ment al­lowances for se­nior staffing to­talling over €900,000. She pointed out that the top-up cash iden­ti­fied was for ‘pro­fes­sional fees from pri­vate pa­tients at­tend­ing the Na­tional Ma­ter­nity Hospi­tal’.

She said: ‘I have been per­son­ally vil­i­fied over the last few days. This has been ut­terly un­war­ranted.’

Dr Ma­hony said: ‘As a con­sul­tant ob­ste­tri­cian, my con­tract al­lows me to pro­vide clin­i­cal care to pri­vate pa­tients, as is the case with all con­sul­tants in the Ir­ish health ser­vice who have the same con­sul­tant con­tract as my­self.’

She added: ‘My re­mu­ner­a­tion as Mas­ter is strictly in line with the con­tract I have with the Na­tional Ma­ter­nity Hospi­tal and is ex­actly in com­pli­ance with pub­lic ser­vice pay re­quire­ments for my po­si­tion.’

She said the ex­is­tence of her in­come from pri­vate pa­tients had been re­ported to the HSE in May 2012 as part of a ‘rou­tine con­fi­den­tial in­ter­nal au­dit car­ried out by the HSE’.

Dr Ma­hony said: ‘To be ab­so­lutely clear, I have never re­ceived any ad­di­tional re­mu­ner­a­tion from the health ser­vice of any other source in­clud­ing fundrais­ing and char­i­ta­ble do­na­tions.’

Dr Ma­hony’s older sis­ter, Jane, also lives in Dublin and is mar­ried to a former Holles Street Mas­ter, Dr Peter Boy­lan.

‘Doc­tors do­ing their job de­serve pro­tec­tion’

A young achiever: Holles Street Mas­ter Dr Rhona Ma­hony

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