HSE announces Savita inquiry team replacements
“I am not happy with it. They just set up a panel and didn’t consult us at all. I am not happy with the HSE. The HSE are the ones who messed up Savita’s care. Basically I am insisting on a public inquiry.”
He said Ms Halappanavar’s father, Andanappa Yalagi, had called him at 5am yesterday to discuss progress on the inquiry. “They are very anxious to see what’s happening. I said I had to keep the pressure on. I said I was not happy with the panel.”
However, Dr Reilly said a public inquiry would take longer to carry out than the private inquiry currently proposed and the answers to what happened would be “an awful lot” slower to come out.
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said today the Government is “open to any ideas” following Mr Halappanavar’s request for a full public inquiry. Mr Howlin said the Government wants an objective, fair and speedy inquiry into what happened, but does not want “a tribunal that goes on for ever more”.
HSE director designate Tony O’Brien said an inquiry needed the full co-operation of the family in order to get to the bottom of what happened. “I must make arrangements for this to proceed,” he told the Oireachtas health committee.
Mr Halappanavar spent eight hours in Oranmore Garda station yesterday giving his statement for the inquest into his wife’s death, likely to be held early next year.
The choice of Prof Arulkumaran to chair the inquiry was criticised last night by the Pro Life Campaign. It said the appointment was “unfortunate and inappropriate”, given “his strong advocacy of very liberal abortion laws.
The Dáil last night began debating a Sinn Féin motion calling on the Government to implement the Supreme Court decision in the X case. A Government counter-motion will commit to the publication of a report on abortion commissioned by Dr Reilly.
Mr Howlin said the Labour Party stance on the issue has been the same since the 1990s. He told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that, in the intervening years, a Dáil majority has not existed to approve abortion legislation. “I believe there is a majority in Dáil Éireann to do it now, but we do it in a way that is considered, we have to read and digest and debate the contents of the expert group,” he said.