'Concerns' about Halappanavar inquiry


Seanad:Rónán Mullen (Ind) said he had concerns about the Savita Halappanavar inquiry outside of the controversy over the inclusion of three Galway University Hospital consultants on the team to carry out the investigation.

He wondered whether the reset button would have to be pushed. If any member of the team had been known or seen in the past to be involved in any advocacy on any side of the abortion issue, that person should not be involved in the inquiry, and any such involvement would lessen his confidence in the inquiry.

“I want to be very careful on the record. I think there may be issues to be looked at across the board and not just in relation to the Galway membership.”

It was quite clear that they must await the outcome of the inquiry into what had happened in this case before there could be any credible or coherent debate on the issue of abortion. “Clearly there has been a hijacking of this issue, very sadly, by people who have a very radical agenda indeed.”

John Crown (Ind), who had called for the attendance of the Minister for Health to explain the “absurd” composition of the inquiry panel, later welcomed the announcement by Seanad leader Maurice Cummins (FG) that the three previously named Galway consultants would not be among those conducting the inquiry.

Prof Crown advocated that great thought be put into the reformulation of the team. “I would urge, in the interest of independence, that as many non-Irish-based specialists as possible be on this.”

There was no political involvement in the redeployment of the wife of the Tánaiste to a €92,000 post in the department of a fellow Labour Minister, Mr Cummins said.

Earlier, Darragh O’Brien, Fianna Fáil leader in the House, had demanded to know why “a Labour crony” had been appointed without the post being advertised or interviews conducted.