FF Senator warns against attempts to skew public debate on abortion

Thu, Nov 22, 2012, 00:00

Seanad:Jim Walsh (FF) said there was a need for a fair and open debate with the Minister for Health on the abortion issue to ascertain whether attempts were being made by subterfuge to introduce “something which is against the will of the majority of the Irish people.

“I think that anything that skews it and that seems to be setting it up beforehand is wrong.”

Mr Walsh said that while the chairman of the inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar was a very well-qualified individual, it was highly inappropriate such an inquiry would be undertaken by anyone who would be on the public record as having pro-abortion views “and that is the case.”

Cathaoirleach Paddy Burke (FG) said: “That is completely out of order.”

Susan O’Keeffe (Lab) said she found it surprising that Mr Halappanavar had reportedly experienced no contact with the Galway hospital for two weeks following his return here after his wife’s death.

Hospitals were obliged to carry out internal inquiries by their own risk review groups into sudden deaths of this kind. Such a review would surely have involved Mr Halappanavar. It would establish the facts surrounding this tragic death.

Ms O’Keeffe said she wanted the Minister to disclose the whereabouts of this internal report and to release it immediately. If that inquiry report was not yet complete, or had not even been started, as legislators they should be told why.

Terry Leyden (FF) said the Minister should listen to what Ms O’Keeffe had said about the first inquiry that should have been carried out by now.

Fidelma Healy-Eames (FG) said the hospital had most likely completed its internal review. “That should be fed into an independent public inquiry.”