Taoiseach Enda Kenny has appealed for the husband of Savita Halappanavar to meet the chairman of an inquiry into his wife’s death following a miscarriage.
Amid demands from Praveen Halappanavar for a public inquiry into the tragedy, the Taoiseach has urged the grieving widower to accept a request for no-prejudice discussions as the investigation begins.
“I think it’s in everybody’s interests, taking into account the sensitivity of what is under investigation here and trying to find out the truth, that he should be allowed to have a meeting,” the Taoiseach said.
“The situation is that the feelings of Praveen were taken into account here because he did say that nobody from the hospital should be associated with this investigation, and nobody will.
“Everybody from the hospital to be spoken to as part of the investigation will be spoken to as witnesses. This is in everybody’s interests.”
Mrs Halappanavar died in Galway University Hospital on October 28 after suffering a miscarriage. She contracted septicaemia.
The investigation into her death was thrown into turmoil even before it got off the ground after the Health Service Executive (HSE) on Monday named three Galway hospital consultants on the inquiry panel.
Within 24 hours they had been axed amid concerns of a conflict of interest.
The inquiry chairman, internationally recognised Professor Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, head of obstetrics and gynaecology at St George’s, University of London, has offered face-to-face talks with Mr Halappanavar to address his concerns.
His solicitor Gerard O’Donnell has dismissed calls for a meeting.
“To do so would be in some way to acquiesce with the investigation or the person appointed by the HSE to investigate,” Mr O’Donnell told RTE Radio.
The legal team has also threatened not to allow access to Mrs Halappanavar’s medical notes and in response to the botched plans for the review panel they demanded a public inquiry with an opportunity to cross-examine medics.
A rights watchdog, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), backed calls for an independent inquiry.
The expert panel chosen by the HSE should have launched its review yesterday. The three replacement experts to join the panel have not yet been named.
The investigation team had intended to spend this week conducting intensive interviews with medics involved in Mrs Halappanavar’s care.
The HSE has claimed that it was in contact with Mr Halappanavar’s legal team from last Friday in an effort to be inform him of the make up of the review panel and the terms of the inquiry.