Colm Burke supports decision to proceed with HSE inquiry

Fine Gael Cork North Central Senator and Seanad Spokesperson on Health, Colm Burke, yesterday (Thursday) said he fully supports the decision taken to proceed with the HSE inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar at University Hospital Galway.

“The selection of the members of the investigation team has been given careful and considered analysis to ensure the inclusion of a number of relevant experts. The credentials of the chairman, Professor Sir Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, an independent expert in obstetrics and gynaecology are beyond reproach. Sabaratnam is Professor and Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Deputy Head of Clinical Sciences at St George’s University of London. He is also the President of the International Federation of Obstetrics & Gynaecology.

“Mr Arulkumaran has already demonstrated his desire for the inquiry to be wholly independent and to be perceived as such and it is my view that this inquiry should be carried out as quickly and as comprehensively as possible.

“This country has a chequered history when it comes to public inquiries. The process has been consistently criticised as being extremely slow in reaching any conclusions. I believe the use of such an inquiry system in this instance would not be beneficial to the family of Savita or to the staff of the hospital.

“Further confidence in the inquiry must be taken from views expressed by the HSE Director designate, Mr Tony O’Brien, who stated that there is an absolute obligation on the HSE to establish all the circumstances which lead to Savita’s death. In seeking to discharge this obligation the inquiry team will operate in a fair and methodical manner which will robustly stand up to any international scrutiny.

“What is of the utmost importance now is that the inquiry proceeds without further delay in order to end speculation into the death of Savita Halappanavar, and so that the precise circumstances surrounding her death can be established, and immediate measures taken should any improper practices be identified.”

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