Gilmore refuses to rule out public inquiry into Savita death


Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has not ruled out a public inquiry into the death of pregnant Indian woman Savita Halappanavar.

Mr Gilmore said the priority was getting to the bottom of the 31-year-old dentist’s death after a miscarriage. “I wouldn’t rule anything out,” Mr Gilmore said.

His comments follow the announcement of a second investigation into her death – a statutory review by the Health Information and Quality Authority. The terms of reference for this inquiry will be published next week.

Minister for Health Dr James Reilly is considering continued requests for an open inquiry. He met Praveen Halappanavar, husband of the late Savita Halappanavar, in Galway for 25-minutes today in the company of his solicitor, Gerard O’Donnell.

Speaking afterwards Mr O’Donnell described their talks as “positive”. The meeting was sought by the Department of Health.

Mr Reilly expressed condolences to Mr Halappanavar on the death of his wife at Galway University Hospital last month, on his behalf and on behalf of the Government.

Ms Halappanavar died at the Galway hospital on October 28th, having presented on October 21st with back-pain. She was found to be miscarrying her 17-week pregnancy.

 Her husband says she repeatedly asked for a termination over a three-day period and that this was refused as the foetal heartbeat was present and this was a “Catholic country”. She died of septicaemia. He wants a public inquiry into her death, saying he has no faith in the HSE to investigate the death without possible bias.

Asked whether the possibility of a public inquiry into her death had been raised at the meeting with Minister Reilly today, Mr O’Donnell said: "He[Reily] said he was very sorry and indicated he would do whatever is possible. We had a good discussion.

"Praveen let him know his wish for a public inquiry, and that that was the wishes of Savita’s family. I get the impression he is considering everything we said."

Mr Halappanavar's solicitor also spoke today to Tracey Cooper, chief executive of the Health Information and Quality Authority.

The Authority confirmed today it would carry out an investigation into the hospital treatment of Savita Halappanavar. The investigation follows a request by the Health Service Executive. Hiqa will assess "the safety, quality and standards of services" provided by the HSE at University Hospital Galway.

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