Halappanavar family to take case to European court

 

The husband of the late Savita Halappanavar has decided to proceed with an application to the European Court of Human Rights.

He decided on this option because the Minister for Health James Reilly did not agree to a public inquiry into the circumstances of her death by a deadline, set by the family, of today.

Praveen Halappanavar’s solicitor, Gerard O’Donnell said he was identifying a team of junior and senior counsel for the action. "I expect to sit down with them and my client early next week to draw up papers to submit to the European court".

Mr Halappanavar has said the two inquiries established into his wife’s death did not satisfy him or her family.

The first was set up by the HSE, while a second, by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa), while separate to the former, was instigated at the HSE’s request. Both will be held in private.

Mr O’Donnell said the family had received offers of support from women’s and human rights groups across the world in his quest for a public inquiry into her death.

“So as we speak I am identifying a team of junior and senior counsel. I expect to sit down with them and my client early next week to draw up papers to submit to the European court.

“We have had a lot of offers from international organisations, women’s and human rights, to support us in this,”

He had had an acknowledgement from the office of Minister for Health, James Reilly, to his letter sent on Monday calling for a public inquiry.

“They said they were ’looking at’ the request.”

Ms Halappanavar died on October 28th at Galway University Hospital, having presented a week earlier with back pain. She had been 17 weeks pregnant and was found to be miscarrying.

Mr Halappanavar has said she asked repeatedly for a termination of the pregnancy but was refused, he says, as the foetal heartbeat was still present and “this is a Catholic country”.

The miscarriage lasted from October 21st until 24th, according to Mr Halappanavar. His wife contracted septicaemia and died on October 28th.