Philomena Canning said she has won her 'day of vindication'.
Independent midwife Philomena Canning, who is seriously ill with terminal cancer, has settled her case with the HSE.
Ms Canning is in a race against time as she sought compensation to afford an immunotherapy drug to fight cancer, which she believes is her ‘only hope’.
The 59-year-old has ovarian cancer and just weeks left to live.
The popular midwife, who was a strong advocate for homebirths, has a case outstanding with the HSE over the withdrawal of her indemnity insurance to practise as a midwife in 2014. The action was taken following two alleged safety risks, while no complaints were made by the mothers involved.
After being reinstated with no findings of fault, Ms Canning sought damages over the detrimental impact of the suspension on her practice, her livelihood and her good name.
She was forced to go public with the appeal from her hospital bed last week, while demonstrations were held by her supporters and ‘Philomena babies’ outside the Dáil.
It was announced on Friday 1st March that Ms Canning’s case was resolved.
In a statement, Ms Canning said she is satisfied with the outcome.
She said: “This is a day of vindication for me – the first day in almost four-and-a-half years where I have woken without a shadow over me: the shadow of having been wronged.
“It is a relief to wake in the knowledge that I do not have to fight any more: for my livelihood, my good name, my vocation. I have the peace of mind I longed for.”
Canning explained her relief that the fight had come to close, but described her sadness that her dreams of improving homebirth services may never be realised.
She said: “But there is sadness too. I know that my long-held ambition of bringing birth centres to the women of Ireland may never be realised. But I also know that as the shadow over me lifts, new light is emerging. Fresh energy is rising up. Other dedicated, passionate and skilled midwives will take up the mantle and make it happen. Please know that I will never be far from you in spirit.”
Ms Canning has said she will only ‘rest easy’ when the reasons behind the HSE’s suspension and analysis of her practice are revealed.
She said: “For myself, I know that in time, the full facts behind my unlawful suspension by the HSE on 12 September 2014 will emerge. When this happens, it will be for the better of the health and safety of women in home birth in Ireland. Then, I will be able to rest fully easy.”
She expressed her thanks to every person who supported her campaign and kept her strong during her battle and her illness.
Ms Canning concluded with heartfelt words of encouragement for all women on bodily integrity.
“Finally, I want to say to every pregnant woman out there, and every woman who wishes to be: you have within you the great gift of creation.
“Therein lies enormous power and potential. Aeons of time and tides have pushed against your centre of power – sometimes gently, sometimes not.
“Only woman can have dominion over birth, yet she is made battle continuously to guard her territory, or to gain access to it.
“Every woman has the right to be supported by her healthcare providers in the birth of her choosing – just as she has the best interests of her baby at heart.
“Your inner compass will show you the way. Look to it. Listen to your intuition. Sit in the centre of your courage: fear may be part of the journey but courage will overcome it every time.
“And please listen to my words. You were born to do this. You were born to do this.”