A protest over maternity restrictions is taking place outside University Hospital Galway this afternoon.

The Irish Birth Movement has been holding the demonstration at the hospital gates since midday.

The group has criticised UHG management for not lifting restrictions on birth partners, despite the Chief Medical Officer saying there’s “no public health justification for maternity hospitals ban on partners.”

Birth partners of women in labour are currently permitted to attend UHG once admitted into a single room on the labour ward; they can also attend a caesarean section done under regional anaesthesia.

Partners may visit St Catherine’s Ward and St Angela’s Ward between 7 and 8pm, while parents of an infant in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit may visit one parent at a time and fathers can visit for up to 30 minutes.

UHG says all partners will be subject to screening questions, must wear PPE and cannot enter the hospital if they are awaiting a COVID-19 test or test result, or have had a positive test within the last 14 days.

Irish Birth Movement Galway coordinator Jacinta Van Roij told Midwest News that the country is reopening but women remain alone in the maternity ward.