Vigils and protests over Savita held

Several hundred people attended a protest outside Dail Eireann this evening in memory of Savita Halappanavar, who died of septicaemia…

Several hundred people attended a protest outside Dail Eireann this evening in memory of Savita Halappanavar, who died of septicaemia following a miscarriage at Galway University Hospital.

The protest was organised by Pro-Choice Campaign Ireland.

Throughout the hour-long protest, many participants held candles, banners and posters calling for abortion legislation and pictures of Ms Halappanavar. Just before it concluded, protestors sat on the street outside Leinster House for five minutes.

Speaking at the protest, Choice Ireland spokeswoman Sinead Ahern said she hopes Ms Halappanavar's family find solace by the amount of people who are touched by her story.


"Tonight is about solidarity. Tonight is about showing Savita's family that we are sorry for what has happened to her and we are sorry for the terrible tragedy that has happened. Today marks the day that there is no more stigma and no more shame."

Organisers estimated over 2000 people attended the protest, while gardai put the figure at 700.

Independent TD Clare Daly said that her office was inundated with calls from people who said they are ashamed to be Irish.

"When myself and deputies Mick Wallace and Joan Collins with the support of the ULA [we] moved legislation earlier this year it was precisely to legislate for this situation,? she said. ?When the Government and Fianna Fail voted down our legislation, they said it wasn't necessary and no woman in Ireland would ever die in this situation. Well sadly Savita's life and tragic death is an answer to how wrong they were."

One attendee, Mary Dunleavy from Rathgar, said she did not normally protest, but was furious when she read about the incident this morning.

"I have not protested since the X case, but my son told me about it this morning and I was so angry. I am not embarrassed to be Irish, but I am ashamed that this happened."

Twenty-year-old student Lorna Bogue travelled alone from Limerick to protest as she was left sickened at Ms Halappanavar's death. "I was sitting at my computer just shaking with rage that our Government could let this happen. It is through inaction that this person and her family have suffered. I was so sickened that something like that could happen in this country," she said.

Gardai reported that there were no major incidents arising from the protest, but that there was some minor traffic delays. A candlelit vigil will take place on Saturday at 4pm at the Garden of Remembrance, followed by a march on the Dail.

Meanwhile. some 400 people held a candle it vigil in Cork tonight for Ms Halappanavar with many carrying placards calling on the Government to introduce legislation on foot of the X case and others speaking of their shame at what happened

Men and women of all ages gathered outside the Opera House on Emmet Place and lit candles before placing them on the pavement and spelling out Savita?s name in flames.

Among those attending the vigil, which was organised by Cork Feminista, was child psychologist Mary Phelan, who had travelled from Innishannon in West Cork to show support and express her anger at the lack of legislation.

"We stopped work and we stopped everything this afternoon to email every minister to say how strongly we feel about this and we?ve driven from Innishannon to be here to make our voices heard.

"I couldn?t find the words to describe how I felt I was so outraged when I heard what happened to this poor woman - it just shouldn?t have happened - they can say we must learn lessons from it but this was an entirely predictable mess and they left it happen.

"It?s not good enough to just say that it can?t happen again - we must make sure that it doesn?t happen again - I feel mortified in front of the world that we have stood by and allowed this happen in our country today - I think we should all be hanging our heads in shame."