News Blog

A rolling look at today's events

Eoin Burke-Kennedy Thu, Jun 13
 
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  • 09:02
    There's overwhelming public support for the Government's proposed legislation, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll which shows 75 per cent of people are in favour of legislating for the Supreme Court X judgment.

    The poll will provide some comfort to the Government who are fighting to quell disquiet within its own ranks about the proposed legislation. The Coalition published its proposed abortion legislation shortly after midnight last night.

    Eoin Burke-Kennedy here with today's news blog.
  • 09:19
    The Government's Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill contains at least two obvious changes from the draft heads of Bill published previously. First, it provides for a penalty of up to 14 years in prison for the offence of destroying unborn human life. In the earlier draft, the legislation made it an offence to "do any act with the intent to destroy unborn human life". This is significant as under the previous wording, the offence would have applied to anyone involved in an illegal abortion.

    Second, the published legislation stipulates that no medical practitioner will be obliged to carry out a termination if they have a conscientious objection to the procedure. However, it no longer includes a provision allowing an institution to refuse a termination on the grounds of conscientious objection. This change will mean that insitutions will be forbidden from refusing to provide terminations.
  • 09:42
    The other big story in the news this morning centres on the tragic deaths of three brothers who drowned while fishing yesterday off the Waterford coast.

    Paul (50), Kenny (47) and Shane Bolger (45) from Passage East perished when their vessel,the Dean Leanne, ran into trouble off Dunmore East.

    The three men, who were all experienced fishermen, were found wearing their personal flotation devices, suggesting they may have been in the water for some hours and may have died of hypothermia. Read full report
  • 09:52
    The final HSE clinical review report into the death of Savita Halappanavar will be published this afternoon. Media reports suggest the 108-page review will pinpoint 'inadequate assessment and monitoring' as a key factor in her death. 

    Savita Halappanavar’s husband Praveen was not made aware that the report was being published today, his solicitor has said. Gerard O’Donnell said it was “disrespectful to him (Praveen) and to his late wife” that the HSE has decided to publish the report without informing him first.  Mr O’Donnell received a copy of the report by email late last night.
  • 10:29
    When historians pick over this period of Irish history they will surely be drawn to the paradox of a conservative, Catholic schoolteacher from Mayo vehemently asserting the separation of church and State, a position which atheist politicians felt unable to publicly maintain even in relatively recent times. Enda Kenny's assertion that he is legislator first and a Catholic second seems to have touched the right note with many, not a regular occurrence for Fine Gael.

    Equally, his insistence that he will not be intimidated by the extreme end of the anti-abortion lobby brought about near universal approval in the Dáil yesterday, Mattie McGrath aside, reflecting the level of pressure the TDs are under on the issue. Miriam Lord writes an excellent piece in today's Irish Times.
  • 10:45
  • 10:47
  • 11:00
    He's hasn't gone away, you know. Declan Ganley has proposed a new political movement that respects the conscience of every legislator on issues such as abortion. Quoting Winston Churchill, Mr Ganley said: “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another without a loss of enthusiasm.” He's indefatigable.
  • 11:01
  • 11:03
  • 11:07
  • 11:22
    We have a live feed from the Public Accounts Committee with FF TD John McGuinness being questioned about his expenses when he was a junior minister for trade in the Department of the Environment. He started the meeting with a lengthy statement which amounted to a strong rebuttal of allegations against him.

    However, he appears to have changed tact somewhat during the question and answer session with committee members, acknowledging what was accepted in 2007 is not accepted now. Nonetheless, he insists he is the victim of a smear campaign.
  • 11:43
    Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland are in free fall, down over 8 per cent today already, after chief executive Stephen Hester quit and the company started to cut 2,000 investment-banking jobs. The bank announced plans to exit its equity derivatives and structured retail products divisions in a memo to employees. This comes after its quarterly   report revealed losses at its subsidiary Ulster Bank amounted to £10 billion, exceeding those in the rest of the RBS group combined, on the back of the collapse of the Irish property market. Read report
  • 12:03
    A short recap on reaction to Government's abortion legislation:

    On the pro-choice side -


    The Irish Family Planning Association criticises the retention of criminal sanctions in cases of unlawful abortions

    Clare Daly TD said a lot of people will be very concerned that women who are victims of rape could face jail sentence of 14 years “where their perpetrator of that rape wouldn’t be given a sentence like that at all”.

    On the anti-abortion side -

    Caroline Simons, legal advisor to the Pro-Life Campaign, claimed the legislation is “a million miles away from good medicine, from the kind of life-saving intervention which everybody supports”.

    Fine Gael TD Peter Mathews said he would not support the Bill as it stands.

    Independent senator Ronan Mullen said the Government had been “dishonest” with the people in “pretending the Bill is restrictive and pretending they are somehow legally obliged to do it".
  • 12:10
    Debenhams Ireland claims to have broken ranks with competitors by using un-airbrushed lingerie photography. "The use of some digital photography techniques to create unrealistic body shapes and flawless skin can make men and women feel more insecure about their natural looks and size," the store said in a statement.

    The retailer has, in the past, run trials with size 16 mannequins in windows and worked with disabled models and paralympians.   
  • 12:39
    What does this man do for a living? Actually, he's head of the Vatican Bank. His name: Ernst von Freyberg
    What does this man do for a living? Actually, he's head of the Vatican Bank. His name: Ernst von Freyberg
  • 12:58
    The HSE's review report into the death of Savita Halappanavar will be published at 2.30pm on the HSE's website but journalists have been given the report in advance under embargo. The seven-member review team is expected to conclude that inadeqate assessment and care played a key role in her death.
  • 13:09
    Independent TD John Halligan has just launched one of the most biting attacks on the Catholic Church ever to come from a Dáil Éireann deputy.

    Mr Halligan said the church “has no right to be the State’s moral compass and is in no position to lecture anyone on human rights with the Catholic Church’s blood-stained history”. He described it as an “organisation that is non-democratic, anti-democratic, that is historically anti-woman, has the most dreadful record of child protection”.

    He also referred to the “level of abuse and intimidation” that TDs are receiving from pro-life activists, saying “some have been ambushed outside their house. They’ve been spat at. They’ve been threatened with having their home burnt down and one has been threatened with having her throat cut”.
  • 13:13
    Simon Zebo (left) will make his first Lions start against Waratahs on Saturday.
    Simon Zebo (left) will make his first Lions start against Waratahs on Saturday.
  • 13:26
  • 13:28
  • 13:46
    Australia's PM Julia Gillard has just taken part in a extraordinary radio interview where she was interrogated, I used the word advisedly, about whether her partner, Tim Mathieson, was gay or not.

    Here's an extract:

    "Tim's gay?" radio host Howard Sattler asked the Australian prime minister.

    "Well that's absurd," Gillard replied.

    "He must be gay, he's a hairdresser. It's not me saying it."

    This comes just days after a furore erupted of a lewd menu prepared in association with a Liberal National Party (LNP) fundraiser in Brisbane containing explicit references to the prime minister's body including her breasts and "big red box." Read more.
  • 13:55
    Razor wire is laid in the fields near Lough Erne Hotel resort in Co Fermanagh, venue for next week's G8 summit.
    Razor wire is laid in the fields near Lough Erne Hotel resort in Co Fermanagh, venue for next week's G8 summit.
  • 14:17
  • 14:33
  • 14:37
    HSE review into death of Savita Halappanavar says hospital failed to adequately assess and monitor patient. The seven-member inquiry finds 31-year-old dentist the most likely cause of her inevitable miscarriage was infection, with the risk of that infection and sepsis increasing after her waters broke. The latter finding would seem to be crucial.
  • 14:44
    According to our reporter Carl O'Brien, the 108-page report identifies three main factors which led to Ms Halappanavar’s death


     - A failure to adhere to clinical guidelines for prompt and effective management of sepsis when it was diagnosed

    - Not offering all management options to the patient as she experienced inevitably miscarriage, even though the risk she faced increased from the time her membranes ruptured

    - Inadequate assessment and monitoring that would have allowed the clinical team to recognise and respond to the signs that her condition was deteriorating.

    Read the full report

  • 14:48
    The report states that on the day Ms Halappanavar was admitted to hospital no ultrasound was carried out by a specialist registrar because a probe used for scanning was broken.
  • 14:50
    The report being examined by members of the media
    The report being examined by members of the media
  • 14:58
    The report finds there was "a lack of recognition of the gravity of the situation and the increasing risk to the life of the mother" which led to "passive approaches and delays in aggressive treatment".
  • 15:02
    In a statement accompanying today's report, the HSE and University Hospital Galway have again apologised "unreservedly" to Mr Halappanavar for the tragic and untimely death of his wife at University Hospital Galway on 28th October last year.
  • 15:04
  • 15:08
  • 15:17
    Chairman of the review team, Professor Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, said the legal situation in Ireland was a "signficant factor" in Savita Halappanavar's death and, significantly, that he would have terminated the pregnancy himself had he found himself in the same situation and had there been no legal obstacles. He was speaking at the HSE's post-publication press conference.
  • 15:28
  • 15:30
    We have the full text of the review report on our site now. It's here
  • 15:44
    Minister for Health James Reilly says the report lays bare the "unacceptable factors" that led to the death of Savita Halappanavar.

    In his first public reaction to the HSE's review, Dr Reilly said: “I have serious concerns about what this report reveals. It is a hard-hitting report which spares nobody and doesn’t pull any punches."

    "We must study this report in great detail, learn the relevant lessons and consider how best to implement its recommendations”.

    He said Prof Arulkumeran’s Report will be immediately referred to the Medical Council and to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland for consideration. He had also invited the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology to meet him to discuss the implications of the report.

    The Minister also expressed his concern for Praveen Halapannaver and for the family of Savita Halappanavar. “They have had to endure a terrible loss that should never have occurred. We must all work together to ensure that the lessons are learned and implemented to prevent such a tragedy occurring again”.
  • 15:56
  • 16:07
    Chairman of the HSE inquiry team, Prof Sabaratnam Arulkumaran. He said the legal situation in Ireland was a 'signficant factor' in Savita Halappanavar's death.
    Chairman of the HSE inquiry team, Prof Sabaratnam Arulkumaran. He said the legal situation in Ireland was a 'signficant factor' in Savita Halappanavar's death.
  • 16:20
    Reacting to the Halappanavar report, Abortion Rights Campaign spokesperson Órlaith Reidy said: “It’s very worrying to know that today’s draft legislation won’t prevent the possibility of this happening again to another pregnant woman presenting with an early second trimester miscarriage.

    "We can’t allow again a foetal heartbeat to be put before a woman’s life. The eighth amendment to the Irish constitution must now be repealed."

    Her colleague Sarah McCarthy noted Prof Arulkumaran's observations that legislative factors interfered with medical considerations.

    "We consider it utterly appalling that in today’s Ireland, medical staff had their job of saving a woman’s life and health made more difficult by Irish law.”
  • 16:27
  • 16:29
  • 16:55
  • 17:16
    The Savita Halappanavar review has issued a series of recommendations including

    - improved training to spot and treat severe sepsis and expectant mothers suffering inevitable miscarria
    - a maternity early warning scoring system for expectant mothers suffering complications
    - all obstetrics and gynaecology staff must be trained in recognising the early signs and treatment for infection, sepsis, severe sepsis, and septic shock
    - a multi-disciplinary team must carry out the national education and training programme for the management of obstetric emergencies
    - counselling services for women, husbands and partners affected by miscarriage must be standardised across the country
    - guidelines are needed for medics dealing with inevitable miscarriage in the early second trimester
    - there is immediate and urgent requirement for a clear statement of the legal context in which clinical professional judgment can be exercised 
    - better communication between all hospital disciplines and grades of staff is needed
    - improved guidelines on the responsibility of the consultant on call
  • 17:28
    Chairman of the HSE inquiry team, Prof Sabaratnam Arulkumaran, said the medical community in Ireland must meet with the legal community to end the ambiguity around termination guidelines here. Nonetheless, in an interview on RTÉ's Drivetime, Prof Arulkumaran said Savita Halappanavar would "probably" have survived if existing guidelines had been followed by hospital staff.
  • 17:48
    Here's a recap of what's happened today regarding the death of Savita Halappanavar

    Findings

    The HSE's review report concluded there were multiple failures by hospital staff to properly assess or monitor Ms Halappanavar's condition.

    In particular, the inquiry team said existing clinical guidelines related to the management of sepsis and septic shock were not correctly adhered to by staff.

    "There was a lack of recognition of the gravity of the situation and of the increasing risk to the mother which led to passive approaches and delays in aggressive treatment," it concluded.

    "This appears to have been either due to the way the law was interpreted in dealing with the case or the lack of appreciation of the increasing risk to the mother and the earlier need for delivery of the foetus," it added.

    Recommendations

    The report recommends "a clear statement of the legal context in which clinical professional judgement can be exercised in the best medical welfare interests of patients". It also says the HSE should develop and implement national guidelines on infection and pregnancy.

    Reaction

    Minister for Health James Reilly said the report laid bare a set of unacceptable factors that led to the tragic death of a young woman. He said the report would be referred to the Medical Council and to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland for consideration.
  • 17:59
    The Pro Life Campaign says HSE's report highlights that the key issues in the death of Savita Halappanavar were multiple failures "to properly assess and monitor her condition".

    Spokeswoman Dr Berry Kiely said: "This confirms what the Pro Life Campaign has always claimed, that the way some politicians and media fastened on Savita’s tragic death as somehow bolstering their call for abortion legislation was misplaced and even opportunistic."
  • 18:04
    That's all from me today, folks. We'll be back in the morning.