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Indian woman's death: Ireland assures India cooperation in probe

Posted on Nov 17, 08:12PM | IANS

Ireland has said it will work closely with the Indian mission and cooperate on all aspects with regard to the death of Indian dentist Savita Halappanavar in an Irish hospital after being denied abortion.

This was conveyed to Indian Ambassador Debashish Chakravarti who met Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore Friday evening in Dublin.

Gilmore told the Indian envoy that his country was "sensitive to the impact of the tragedy on public opinion and civil society" and said that an enquiry being conducted on the Oct 28 death of Savita "would be completed at an early date".

Savita's death has sparked outrage in India as well as across the world.

Ambassador Chakravarti conveyed "the deep concern of the government of India at the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar and expressed the hope that steps would be taken so as not to allow such an incident to recur", an official source said here Saturday.

"He conveyed the desire of the government of India for an independent enquiry to be conducted into the matter and requested to be kept updated about progress," the source added.

Gilmore conveyed the "deepest sympathies of Ireland" over the death of Savita and "requested that these be conveyed to the family".

"He indicated that they were sensitive to the impact of the tragedy on public opinion and civil society. He assured that the enquiry being conducted by the Health Services Executive would be assisted by an independent medical professional. He said that the investigation would be completed at an early date. The Irish side would work closely with the Indian Mission and cooperate on all aspects," the source said.

Savita arrived Oct 21 with back pain at Galway University Hospital in Ireland where she was found to be miscarrying at 17 weeks. She died of septicaemia Oct 28.

Doctors in the hospital refused to abort her foetus on grounds that "this is a Catholic country".

On Friday, India summoned Irish Ambassador Feilim McLaughlin and hoped that an inquiry into the tragedy would be independent. The Irish envoy was summoned by M. Ganapathi, secretary (west) in the external affairs ministry.

During his meeting with the Irish ambassador, Ganapathi expressed India's concern and angst about the untimely and tragic death of Savita, official sources said here.

Ganapathi stressed that people in India were unhappy that "a young life had come to an untimely end".

Overseas Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi also stressed that a high-level inquiry should be done and the culprits brought to book. The government was ready to give all assistance, including legal, to the family of the victim, said Ravi.

According to the Irish Independent, an international expert in obstetrics and gynaecology will be appointed to the inquiry team investigating the death of Savita.

The inquiry will be headed by the Health Service Executive's director of patient safety, Philip Crowley, and an international expert has also been identified to join the team.