Sunday 26 October 2014

Careful balancing act needed in Savita tragedy

Published 24/11/2012 | 17:00

Nine days after Ireland learned of the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar, Health Minister James Reilly has met her heartbroken husband Praveen.

That meeting yesterday, a private encounter in which Dr Reilly said he expressed his condolences, came after a truly shambolic week which has left the minister with little credit.

First it was announced the HSE inquiry team would contain three consultants from UHG, a baffling decision that led to a justifiable outcry and a swift u-turn.

Then, faced with Mr Halappanavar's stout resistance to a HSE-led investigation, Taoiseach Enda Kenny made an ill-judged appeal to the grieving husband – from the floor of the Dail.

Whatever the outcome of the proposed inquiry, the final decisions on the make-up of its members, and a separate inquiry ordered by HIQA, there is no doubt the whole harrowing saga has been handled very badly indeed.

While Mr Halappanavar appreciated the meeting, according to his solicitor Gerard O'Donnell, he is still calling for a full public inquiry, headed by a High Court judge.

Despite his concerns, some believe Mr Halappanavar should put his faith in the inquiry. Otherwise, matters could be heading to the courts and even the European Court of Human Rights – a scenario few would want.

In balancing the need for transparency and compassion for Savita's husband and family, Mr Reilly needs to reflect carefully on his next move.

Irish Independent

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