Cabinet at one on suicide risk - Reilly
There are no differences in Cabinet on the issue of allowing the risk of suicide as a reason for terminating a pregnancy, according to Minister for Health James Reilly.
Ministers were making good progress in advancing legislation for the ABC case, as required by a European Court of Human Rights judgment, he said. There were complex issues involved with 50 different heads in the Bill but the matter was progressing satisfactorily.
He said he was still on track to have the legislation ready by Easter. Legislation would be introduced into the Oireachtas during its summer session and the goal was to have it in law before the summer break.
“People want to have this issue clarified for women who have to use our health service and doctors and nurses who have to provide treatment,” he said.
Asked about the report of the HSE investigation into the death of Savita Halappanavar, Dr Reilly said he still hadn’t received it but expected to do so shortly. He declined to comment until he had received the report.
The Minister was speaking at the launch of Lollipop Day to raise money for research into oesophageal cancer. Ireland has one of the highest rates of oesophageal cancer in Europe with about 450 new cases diagnosed each year.
Mr Reilly, whose mother died of the disease, said obesity played a huge role in the cancer while tobacco and alcohol were also major risk factors. Oesophageal cancer wasn’t spoken of enough and the survival rates were “poor enough” compared to other cancers. He said he wanted to see an increase in survival rates for oesophageal cancer in the same way that survival rates had increased dramatically for testicular cancer.
Prof John Reynolds of St James’s Hospital said the cure rate of patients with the cancer had increased from 25 per cent to 45 per cent in a decade.