| 4.6°C Dublin

Asylum seeker in abortion row wants HSE inquiry halted


The Four Courts in Dublin

The Four Courts in Dublin

The Four Courts in Dublin

THE woman at the centre of a recent abortion controversy wants to halt a HSE inquiry into the care provided to her by various state agencies, the High Court heard.

The woman, who can only be referred to as Ms Y for legal reasons, is an asylum seeker who suffers from a medical condition and is described as being "extremely vulnerable".

She arrived in Ireland earlier this year. Shortly afterwards she discovered she was pregnant after being raped in her home country.

She sought an abortion on the grounds of feeling suicidal but the pregnancy was well advanced by the time her case was assessed by a three-doctor panel.

She had a caesarean section against her initial wishes, and the child is now in state care.

A HSE inquiry was set up to examine the response of the State and other agencies and to determine why her case was delayed.


Yesterday, Ms Y's lawyers told Mr Justice Seamus Noonan the manner in which the HSE inquiry has been conducted, which she has been unable to participate in due to her ill health, had breached her rights to fair procedures and constitutional justice.

In proceedings against the HSE, she wants an order halting the inquiry that commenced last August.

She also seeks an order quashing a draft report concerning her case, which it is claimed was "leaked to media" last September.

Her counsel, Richard Kean, said the draft order was put together in the absence of his client being interviewed.

She should have been interviewed to ascertain her version of events before any report was compiled, it is argued.

Counsel said the leak of the draft report, the contents of which were featured in both print and broadcast media, had "compounded her illness" and had breached her rights.

Counsel said Miss Y's solicitor asked the HSE for the source of the leak, as the contents of the draft report was only known to a small number of people.

Counsel said Ms Y was also unhappy at the four-person team appointed by the HSE to conduct the inquiry as it was composed of individuals who were or had been employees of the HSE.


This gave rise to an apprehension of "bias" counsel said.

Permission to bring the case was granted on an ex parte (one-side only represented) basis by Mr Justice Noonan, who also granted a stay on the inquiry until the matter returns to court in January.