Events to mark anniversary of Savita Halappanavar death

Candlelit vigils to be apolitical and not to include speeches

Savita Halappanavar (31) died on October 28th last year in Galway University Hospital a week after she was admitted with severe back pain. She was 17 weeks pregnant and was found to be miscarrying.

Savita Halappanavar (31) died on October 28th last year in Galway University Hospital a week after she was admitted with severe back pain. She was 17 weeks pregnant and was found to be miscarrying.

 

Vigils to mark the anniversary of the death of Savita Halappanavar will be held at locations across the State on Monday evening.

Organisers say the vigils will be non-political and will not involve speeches or agenda-setting, but will be a “coming together of people who want to express their emotions a year after her tragic passing”.

The vigils, in Cork, Galway and Dublin, will be between 6pm and 7pm, and people are encouraged to bring candles and lanterns. The Dublin vigil will take place at the gates of St Stephen’s Green at the top of Grafton Street. The Galway vigil will be at Eyre Square and the Cork vigil will be at the Opera House.

Ms Halappanavar (31) died on October 28th last year in Galway University Hospital a week after she was admitted with severe back pain. She was 17 weeks pregnant and was found to be miscarrying.

She asked on at least two occasions for a termination of the pregnancy but was told this was not possible because of legal constraints and that it was “a Catholic thing”. She delivered a female foetus three days after she was admitted, but had contracted septicaemia. She died of septic shock having contracted E.coli ESBL.

Her death convulsed public and political opinion and led to the establishment of three separate investigations, by coroner Dr Ciaran McLoughlin, the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Health, Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa). The death also focused attention on the issue of legal clarity around abortion.

Katie Power, one of those organising the Dublin vigil, said a lot of people across the political spectrum had experienced a sense of grief at Ms Halappanavar’s death last year.

“Given that, we felt it was important to organise a forum for people to come together and quietly observe Savita’s passing. It will be an hour of silence and music,” she said. “There will be no speeches and no politics.”