Taoiseach pledge on Savita inquiry
The investigation into the death of Savita Halappanavar will now be “utterly independent’’ of Galway University Hospital, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.
Mr Kenny told the Dáil that Minister for Health Dr James Reilly would request the HSE not to have any consultant from the hospital involved in the investigation.
“That is not to, in any way, impugn their integrity, but in the interests of, and regard for, the traumatic effect on Savita’s husband and family and in the greater public interest,’’ he added.
Mr Kenny said he understood the three persons from the hospital who were nominated for the investigation had not been involved in Mrs Halappanavar’s care.
He told Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin that he had no consultation whatsoever with anybody in the hospital, or with any member of the Halappanavar family, either directly or indirectly. Dr Reilly had no consultation directly with the family either.
Replying to Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, the Taoiseach said he understood the HSE had been, and was, in contact with lawyers acting for Mr Halappanavar.
“I hope in the context of co-operation and understanding, taking account of the sensitivities of the family arising from the loss of Savita, that an understanding of the independence of this investigation can occur,’’ he added.
Mr Martin said that because three staff members from the hospital were involved in the investigation, it could not be said to be independent and one could understand Mr Halappanavar’s reasonable position.
He said he was somewhat surprised by what appeared to be “an arm’s length approach’’ by the Minister who was in charge of the HSE. “The board has been abolished,’’ he added.
Mr Martin said it was extremely important that the family be engaged and comfortable with the nature of the inquiry.
Mr Kenny said that under Prof Arulkumaran’s chairmanship, different personnel who were competent and experienced would be appointed to conduct the investigation.
Mr Adams said he agreed with the Taoiseach that they must wait for the facts to emerge about how and in what circumstances Savita had died.