Savita Halappanavar: Galway doctors dropped from death inquiry

Savita Halappanavar Savita Halappanavar's family claim she was refused an abortion

Three Galway-based consultants will now not be part of the inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar.

The Health Service Executive in the Irish Republic has said it will investigate her death at Galway University Hospital.

Her family claimed she was repeatedly refused a termination during the miscarriage.

Her husband Praveen has said his family had "no faith" in the inquiry and would not be co-operating with it.

His lawyer told Irish state broadcaster RTE that Mr Halappanavar would not allow the inquiry to examine her medical records, but wanted a public inquiry.

Gerard O'Donnell, said the family would not consent to an HSE-led inquiry.

"It's important to remember that he lost his wife while under the care of the HSE," he said.

"He feels that anybody who is appointed by the HSE or paid for by the HSE to conduct an enquiry into his wife's death won't meet the criteria that we would advise him, as lawyers, of getting to the truth."

The HSE inquiry will aim to determine the facts of her death, identify contributory factors and make recommendations to try to prevent a similar death happening again.

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny told the Dail that doctors with no connection to Galway University Hospital would be appointed to replace the ones removed from the inquiry panel.

Meanwhile the Dail will debate a Sinn Féin motion calling for immediate legislation to give effect to a 1992 Supreme Court ruling.

The Supreme Court upheld the right of a 14-year-old girl, who had been raped and was threatening to commit suicide, to have an abortion.

Legal clarity

However, the court's ruling was never officially made into law.

The debate and parliamentary vote comes a week before the publication of the findings of an expert group set up to advise the Irish government on how to bring legal clarity to the issue of abortion.

The Fianna Fáil spokesperson on health has expressed "serious concerns" about the Sinn Fein motion.

"If this is about political point-scoring, it does a great disservice to those genuine people on all sides of this debate who would like to see legislators make well informed decisions in the best public interest" said Billy Kelleher.

"When you look to the situation in Northern Ireland, it is hard to escape the conclusion that this motion is more about politics-as-usual and causing difficulties for the Government parties.

"There, as here, a leading obstetrician has said that the law on abortion needs clarity and that politicians need to act to give that clarity."

"Sinn Féin has been in government in Northern Ireland since 1998."

"In those 14 years, I can find no evidence of them having tabled a single motion in the assembly calling for greater legal clarity on access to abortion services in Northern Ireland."

The Irish Republic has until 30 November to respond to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling on a case that prompted the formation of the abortion expert advisory group.

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