Inquiry progress 'being made' - Gilmore
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said he understood the position of Savita Halappanavar’s family in relation to the Health Service Executive inquiry into her death but would not say whether the Government would change its terms.
Mr Gilmore said he had no problem with the intervention of President Higgins and indicated he was willing to meet Ms Halappanavar’s husband Praveen. “I’m always willing to meet people.” Asked if the Government would change its plans for an inquiry if that was what was required to gain the support of Ms Halappanavar’s family, he said the objective remained to get to the bottom of what happened.
Speaking in Brussels as the board of the Health Information and Quality Authority considered a request to carry out its own inquiry, Mr Gilmore said he understood progress was being made.
“There’s a legal requirement as I understand it for the HSE to conduct an investigation. I understand there’s a proposal for a Hiqa investigation,” he told reporters.
“I think what’s important here is that we get to the bottom of what happened in Galway and that the truth is established and that that is done as soon as possible.” Asked about the President’s intervention, Mr Gilmore said he did not believe Mr Higgins had crossed the line in relation to his remit.
“I think the president was reflecting I think what is the national mode and I think that’s the president’s role,” the Tánaiste said.
“We’ve seen this over the years that presidents do reflect the national mood on issues that people are concerned about.” Asked whether he agreed with Mr Higgins’ statement that the inquiry should satisfy Ms Halappanavar’s family, Mr Gilmore said the family’s position was very understandable.
“The situation here where Savita’s life was lost, I have every understanding for how the family feel about that,” he said.
Could if the process could be ever be satisfactory if the family was not happy with it, Mr Gilmore said it should not be prejudged.
“I think that investigation – if it’s one investigation or more than one investigation or whatever way it is done – I think the important thing is that we establish the facts and the truth of what happened.” When it was put to the Tánaiste that the family had prejudged the inquiry and were not happy with it, he said the important thing was that a woman had died.
“This is a case that has troubled the entire country and I feel troubled by it. What we have to do is we have to establish what happened, get to the bottom of it and establish the truth and the sooner we do that the better.”