Fine Gael Cork South Central Deputy and Chairman of the Dáil Select Committee on Health and Children, Jerry Buttimer, has said that the completion of Committee Stage for the Female Genital Mutilation Bill is a significant step in defining FGM in Irish law.
“Today was a significant step in defining FGM for the first time in Irish law. Committee Stage was completed this afternoon and now the Bill returns to the Dáil for report and final stages.
“This Bill, when passed, will ensure that FGM is recognised as a distinct, serious offence against girls and women. The Bill also intends to give extraterritorial effect to the prohibition on acts of FGM, which makes it an offence to remove a girl or a woman from the State for the purpose of FGM.
“Globally, between 100 and 140 million girls and women have undergone FGM. It is prevalent in certain regions and cultures and the reasons used to supposedly explain the practice include sexuality, marriageability, economics, tradition and religion.
“Some of Irish people have a perception that FGM is something that happens in other countries and are unaware of the numbers of women living here who have undergone FGM. Estimates indicate that 3,170 women living in Ireland have been subjected to the procedure. The Government and the State have a duty to act to protect women and children living here who might be exposed to the practice. When enacted this legislation will fulfil that duty.
“It is through raising awareness of these issues that we can begin to change attitudes. We can cause people to reconsider what they may otherwise have accepted as normal practice. Many groups have campaigned on this issue and the progress of the FGM Bill will further advance awareness of this issue.”