Inquiry into death to be finished by Christmas
The Health Service Executive investigation into the death of Savita Halappanavar will be completed before Christmas, the Minister for Health has stated.
James Reilly said he would have an interim report in a “matter of weeks”. “I’ve made it very clear this investigation must be completed as expeditiously as possible and I now understand that will happen before Christmas and I may have an interim report in a matter of weeks,” he said.
“I equally understand now that Hiqa have become involved and they will do that as expeditiously as possible but until I get the report I can’t say what the next step is. The report will certainly inform our next actions,” he added.
Mr Reilly made his comments at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick, having earlier met Mrs Halappanavar’s husband Praveen in a Galway city centre hotel.
Mr Halappanavar said afterwards he was pleased to have finally met a Government representative four weeks after his wife died at University Hospital Galway.
But he stressed to Mr Reilly that he does not believe the HSE or Hiqa investigations are far-reaching enough.
“I’m just glad that we met and he just passed on his condolences to the family,” said Mr Halappanavar, who was accompanied by his solicitor Gerard O’Donnell at the meeting.
“It is [important] for the family because there is no comment or officials who called us or met us to pass on their condolences. So I will pass this on to Savita’s family.”
“We also said why we need a public inquiry as well and he said he would look into it,” said Mr Halappanavar.
Earlier, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore warned about a tribunal-style inquiry, saying: “We have experience in this country of formal public inquiries and the danger is they go on for a very long time and very often spend a long time being mired in legal argument.” The Irish Council for Civil Liberties supported Mr Halappanavar’s call for a public inquiry .
UN special rapporteur Margaret Sekeggya was in Ireland this week. Outlining yesterday the preliminary findings from her visit she described Ireland’s law on terminations as “one of the most restrictive in Europe”.
She said abortion was considered a crime here, “where women could be punished with lifetime prison sentences”.
The Cabinet is due to consider the report of the expert group on abortion on Tuesday.