Friday 26 August 2016

Lise Hand: An Omnishambles of a situation, shambolic from any angle at all

Published 22/11/2012 | 05:00

This is swiftly escalating from a Savita Shambles to the Oxford Dictionary's word of the year, an omnishambles, deployed to describe a situation which is shambolic from every possible angle.

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One week after the death of Savita Halappanavar her tragic story continues to haunt Leinster House. Inside the Dail chamber, her name was invoked all day beginning with the morning's session of Leaders' questions, and continuing right until the second evening of debate on a Sinn Fein motion on the X Case ruling.

And in between the debates, there was the commotion over who should conduct the inquiry, and who should take part, with Savita's grieving husband Praveen declining to co-operate with the HSE investigation, despite a bizarre direct appeal for him to do so by the Taoiseach in the Dail chamber.

Then, as the day drew to a close, President Michael D Higgins joined the ever-increasing hubbub by calling for the investigation to meet the needs of "a concerned public".

And even as the voice of our head of state was heard, almost 1,000 voices were chanting "Never Again" outside the gates of Leinster House – among them novelist Marian Keyes.

At 6pm, a large crowd, many holding candles and placards, gathered for a second pro-choice rally on Kildare Street.

'How's this For A Gathering, Enda?' read one sign, while many others were holding up placards proclaiming 'My Health, My Body, My Choice – Abortion Rights Now' – these were printed by ULA deputy Clare Daly.

The stone steps up to one of the large houses along Molesworth Street served as an ad hoc platform for a series of speakers.

The first to speak was Tania Kaur, a member of Dublin's Indian community. There was a need, she said, "to protest against a system that failed to protect Savita Halappanavar and has in the past failed many women who have suffered at the hands of the cowardly and lethargic legislators.

Sinn Fein's Mary Lou McDonald was next. "The people who were elected to the institution to my left, of which I am a member, sought to place the focus everywhere and anywhere bar on that institution itself," she said. "They don't have the discretion to choose not to legislate for those things that are lawful.

Clare Daly urged the crowd to return in even greater numbers next Wednesday when the Dail will be voting on her amended X Case Bill which was defeated last April.

"It's an affront to say we don't have Irish abortion. We do – it just doesn't take place here."

Irish Independent

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