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Monday 11 December 2017

Family must wait for answers over death of Aibha (6)

Aibhe Conroy, who died in hospital aged six in 2011
Aibhe Conroy, who died in hospital aged six in 2011

Liz Farsaci

A coroner apologised to a grieving family after the inquest into the death of six-year-old Aibha Conroy was adjourned.

Dublin City Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said that, prior to the afternoon's proceedings, he fully expected to give a verdict yesterday. However, certain matters arose as part of the closing remarks from the legal teams, and the inquiry was adjourned.

Dr Farrell apologised to the family but said that the integrity of the Coroner's Court must be maintained.

"I must apologise to the family and everyone here," he said. "I came in today thinking we would conclude the inquest.

"I must protect the integrity of the inquest. I want to make sure I have the evidence right."

The Conroy family's solicitor, Damien Tansey, urged the coroner to give a verdict of medical misadventure.

Noting that this had been a long inquiry, Mr Tansey said: "The Conroy family has not been intent on pointing the finger of blame at anyone. It is rather to get some answers to the tragedy that engulfed their family in December 2011."

Referring to Kathleen and John Conroy, Aibhe's parents, Mr Tansey said they are "two extraordinary, outstanding people... salt of the earth".

"It was a vindication of Aibhe that spurred them on to launch this inquiry," Mr Tansey said.

In his closing remarks, Declan Buckley, the legal representative for the HSE, said he was against a verdict of medical misadventure "because the evidence is simply not there".

Aibha, from Gowla, Connemara, Co Galway, died at Temple Street Children's Hospital in Dublin on December 14, 2011. Four days previously, she had been admitted to University Hospital Galway suffering from hypoglycaemia, or low blood sugar, and vomiting.

Shortly after her admittance, Aibhe experienced a respiratory arrest and suffered brain damage.


Several doctors and nurses involved in providing care for Aibha spoke at the inquest this week, as well as expert witness Dr Susan O'Connell, from Cork University Hospital.

On Wednesday, Caroline Ni Chonghaile, Aibha's teacher, said that, at the start of the school year in September 2011, Aibha's mother, Kathleen Conroy, mentioned that she was expecting referrals for Aibha to Crumlin hospital very shortly.

Aibha's death was very upsetting to herself, the school and community, said Ms Ni Chonghaile. She added that most of them speak Irish as their primary language.

Irish Independent

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