Irish Ambassador O’Neill will host the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) and the UK’s Royal College of Midwives (RCM) today Monday 22 January, at the Irish Embassy in London when the two organisations sign a historic partnership. The formal signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) marks a unique international partnership between the two midwife representative bodies. Under this Memorandum of Understanding the organisations will effectively agree to adopt the members of their sister organisation when they are working, on a temporary basis, in the jurisdiction of the other representative trade union.
Both organisations are members of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the European Public Services Union. This partnership represents a unique initiative between trade unions across borders. In the context of Brexit it will strengthen the ability of midwives to practice and educate regardless of the outcome of Brexit negotiations. Midwives who are members of the INMO, under a licence agreement which is part of the Memorandum of Understanding, will now have a gateway into the massive repository of midwifery research and education, provided by the RCM, for members.
In the event of a hard Brexit, the INMO will work as a conduit for RCM to the European Commission ensuring a two way flow of information relevant to the care of mothers and babies in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
The Memorandum of Understanding will be signed by the INMO President, Martina Harkin-Kelly and new General Secretary, Phil Ni Sheaghdha and RCM President, Kathryn Gutteridge and CE/General Secretary, Gill Walton.
The initiative has been welcomed by the Department of Health and the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding is to be overseen by the Irish Ambassador to the UK. Ambassador O’Neill will host the official launch at the Irish Embassy in London.
Speaking at the launch INMO President, Martina Harkin-Kelly said:
“This is an exciting development for our midwives. The RCM is a world leader in terms of progressive evidence based midwifery practice and education and development. We look forward to a rich collaborative partnership where the needs of mothers and babies, through the professions of midwifery, can be advanced and developed maintaining the record of these islands as the safest places in the world for childbirth”.
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ni Sheaghdha said:
“The mutual representation rights confirmed between our two organisations is a unique experiment for unions in Europe. It is timely given Brexit and it may set an example for greater co-operation into the future in advancing the rights and entitlements of professional workers in our health services”.
The Irish Congress of Trade Unions have endorsed and welcomed the initiative from INMO/RCM.
2018 is the centenary year of the first all-Ireland Midwives Act and the launching of the partnership is the first of a series of celebrations of the midwifery profession on the island of Ireland throughout the year.