Herself and no one from her offices responded to my initial email send on the 2nd of November, but responded to the one I send yesterday.
Fri, 16 Nov 2012 13:17:28
I wish to acknowledge and thank you for your recent email in relation to the tragic and dreadful story of Savita Halappanavar, the 31-year-old dentist who died from septicaemia in NUIG after being refused a termination when miscarrying.
First and foremost, this is a human tragedy, and all sympathies should be extended to her husband Praveen and her family who are now grieving.
Investigations are being carried out the by hospital’s risk review group and the HSE’s National Incident Management Team as well as by the coroner in Galway. In other words, we don’t know the full circumstances of the case, and we should resist the temptation to get drawn into coming to conclusions in absence of all the facts.
That does not mean that we can or should avoid considering this case in the context of the X Case and of the report of the Expert Group that was established by the Government.
This issue has been with us now for 20 years and this is the first Government that has decided that were are going to deal with it. We put place a process, an Expert Group chaired by Judge Ryan to address all of the issues, to make recommendations to us. That Expert Group looked for an extension on the period of time they needed to consider the issues. It is a complex and sensitive area. They have now completed their work, submitted their report to Minister for Health and will be presented to Cabinet once the Minister has considered its contents. Whether the Expert Group recommends legislation or regulation, we will not ignore it. Legal clarity is required on this issue.
The Programme for Government negotiated by both Labour and Fine Gael on forming government contains the following commitment:
“We acknowledge the recent ruling of the European Court of Human Rights subsequent to the established ruling of the Irish Supreme Court on the X-case. We will establish an expert group to address this issue, drawing on appropriate medical and legal expertise with a view to making recommendations to Government on how this matter should be properly addressed.”
Tackling the issues around the X Case is a complex matter and while Deputy Daly’s Private Members Bill was welcome in facilitating debate, it was not without flaws.
There were number of concerns around the detail and drafting of the Bill that lacked clarity and that could have caused confusion. The Bill was therefore not appropriate as a basis for addressing the many complexities in this area.
Joan Burton TD
Minister for Social Protection
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