Statment by Fiona - Andrew's mam

My son Andrew actually lived for 27 hours after his birth with anencephaly. At that time doctors believed that it was better for mothers not to see or hold their baby if they had anencephaly, so they took him away and no one even told me Andrew was alive.

He lived for 27 hours, and he could have spent them in my arms but instead I was told he had already passed away.

That was a terrible loss for me – the loss of that time with my son. It made me realise though that we were right to make the most of our time together before he was born, as I said in the video, the walks in the park, listening to the birds, singing songs for him, he knew he was with me and that I loved him.

I'm glad that things have improved for mothers like me now, and that doctors realise that time together is so important and precious and that mams can hold their babies and love them and smell them and remember what they looked like and how they felt in their arms. No mother or father should be denied that. These are our children, their lives may be short but that just means we have to pour a lifetime of love into that time.

I know the support isn't what it should be yet for families and babies like my Andrew, but it has improved and now we need to make sure it keeps improving.

We can't let Ireland go backwards, go back to a time when these babies where rejected and hidden away because they had a disability which took their lives away. That was wrong, and it's wrong to dehumanise babies like Andrew by saying they are 'incompatible with life' or that they have less of a right to life because they are sick.

I'm here today to ask you to support the Bill that Mattie McGrath has put forward because we can't accept labels like 'incompatible with life' anymore. I'm here I memory of my son to ask you to help us all do better, doctors, nurses, the media, everyone. Please help to make that happen.


Fiona Cronin - Mam to Andrew