HSE announces Savita inquiry team replacements
He told the Dáil this morning that Mr Halappanavar had said he did not want any person associated with Galway University Hospital involved in the investigation team. “And that will be the case,’’ Mr Kenny said.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said Minister for Health James Reilly should have had contact with Mr Halappanavar. “And nobody would have cast any aspersions on such contact,’’ he added.
Mr Martin said that if contact had been made, "We might not be where we are now in terms of the progression of this particular issue." Mr Martin said he did not think it was appropriate to be making public appeals to Mr Halappanavar, given the circumstances, and that he was grieving because of the loss of his wife.
Mr Kenny said he believed it was in everybody’s interest that the chairman of the investigation team should have a meeting with the husband of the deceased. “I am not suggesting any manipulation at all, deputy," he added.
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said the Government’s handling of the matter had been “ill-judged and mismanaged’’.
Mr Halappanavar is seeking a public investigation of the death of his wife, who died of septicaemia seven days after she presented with back pain. She had been 17 weeks pregnant. Her husband says she asked repeatedly for a termination but was refused as a foetal heartbeat was present.
An offer by inquiry chairman, internationally recognised Prof Arulkumaran, head of obstetrics and gynaecology at St George’s, University of London, of face-to-face talks with Mr Halappanavar to address his concerns was repeated by the HSE tonight.
However, speaking earlier solicitor Gerard O’Donnell dismissed calls for a meeting.
“To do so would be in some way to acquiesce with the investigation or the person appointed by the HSE to investigate,” Mr O’Donnell said.
The legal team has also threatened not to allow access to Mrs Halappanavar’s medical notes and in response to the botched plans for the review panel they demanded a public inquiry with an opportunity to cross-examine medics.
A rights watchdog, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), backed calls for an independent inquiry.
The expert panel chosen by the HSE should have launched its review yesterday.
Dr Reilly and his officials, however, appear determined to proceed with the inquiry despite opposition from her husband and criticism from anti-abortion activists.
Dr Reilly said he had a duty of care to women to ensure there weren’t any unsafe practices in Galway University Hospital and said he wanted the HSE to get on with the investigation as quickly as possible.
Mr Halappanavar told The Irish Times he and Savita’s parents wanted a full public inquiry funded by the Department of Health, not one carried out by the HSE. He said the removal of the three consultants from Galway University Hospital from the inquiry, announced by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny in the Dáil yesterday, was not enough.