Husband says no contact from HSE on inquiry
The husband of the late Savita Halappanavar has had no contact from the Irish authorities and is “very worried” about what sort of inquiry will be established into her death.
Praveen Halappanavar told The Irish Times last night from India that he had heard from no one in the Health Service Executive, the Department of Health, the Taoiseach’s office, the Department of Foreign Affairs or the Irish Embassy in New Delhi.
The HSE said last night its inquiry team would engage with Mr Halappanavar as part of the investigation into his wife’s death in Galway University Hospital late last month.
However, despite a promise by Minister for Health James Reilly that the investigation would be expedited, the HSE was last night unable to name the members of the inquiry team or provide terms of reference.
A spokeswoman said an international expert in obstetrics and gynaecology had been identified to join the inquiry. This is not the specialist from Northern Ireland mentioned by Dr Reilly on Thursday.
Membership of the team was being finalised, she added. The full team and terms of reference would be made public “in a matter of days”.
Dr Reilly insisted there was no split within the Coalition over pressure to legislate for abortion in the wake of Ms Halappanavar’s death. “We have had no difference of opinion in this regard at all,” he said of relations with Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, who has promised the Government will “take action” on abortion.
Dr Reilly is to bring a report to Cabinet next week by an expert group on abortion.
This report does not make recommendations but rather sets out options for providing greater clarity in the area, The Irish Times understands.
Ms Halappanavar (31) died of septicaemia on October 28th, a week after she presented at the hospital and was found to be miscarrying 17 weeks into her pregnancy. Her husband says repeated requests by her for a termination were refused over a three-day period because a foetal heartbeat was still present.
Demonstrations are being held today in her memory and in support of legislative change on abortion. In Dublin, marchers will walk from the Garden of Remembrance at 4pm to the Dáil, where a candle-lit vigil will be held. A vigil is also being held in Galway, where the Halappanavars have lived for four years.
Sinn Féin is to maintain the pressure on the Government with a Dáil motion next week demanding the immediate introduction of legislation to give effect the 1992 judgment in the X case.