Wednesday 17 July 2019

Couple in abortion tragedy ask for meeting with Minister Simon Harris

Meeting: Solicitor Caoimhe Haughey is representing the couple. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Meeting: Solicitor Caoimhe Haughey is representing the couple. Photo: Caroline Quinn
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The couple at the centre of the tragic abortion case at the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street want to meet Health Minister Simon Harris, it has emerged.

The couple's solicitor Caoimhe Haughey said they were seeking a meeting before an external review of the case gets under way.

A spokeswoman for Mr Harris said his overriding concern had always been for the family who have experienced a terrible tragedy.

"From the outset, he believed an external review was warranted and is assured by the hospital this is now under way," she said.

"The minister believes it is important the independent, external review is allowed to conduct its work. He has at all times stressed the importance of keeping the family informed and involved.

"As recently as this week, the minister confirmed he would meet with the family at their request."

The couple were told in March after two tests that their unborn baby had a fatal foetal abnormality and would not survive.

This led to the decision to have a termination, but a more advanced test later showed the baby was healthy.

Ms Haughey said it was important that the couple meet the minister face to face to set out their concerns about the operation of abortion services. They also want to have input into the draft terms of reference for the external review which will be conducted by a panel of specialists from Ireland and the UK.

A spokesman for the National Maternity Hospital said its master Prof Shane Higgins "has commissioned an independent external review into this deeply tragic case".

The review will be conducted entirely independently of the hospital, and its composition and current draft terms of reference comply with HSE guidelines, he added.

It has accepted a proposed change to these terms of reference and "we expect further correspondence to take place. We want to get the review under way as soon as possible", the hospital spokesman added.

Irish Independent

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