Attempts to ease India concerns over Savita Halappanavar death

Thursday 15 November 2012 23.37
Feilim McLaughlin is briefing government and opposition figures in New Delhi over Savita Halappanavar's death
Feilim McLaughlin is briefing government and opposition figures in New Delhi over Savita Halappanavar's death

Ireland's ambassador to India is attempting to ease concerns in the country over the death of a woman who was refused an abortion as she miscarried.

Feilim McLaughlin is briefing government and opposition figures in New Delhi over Savita Halappanavar's death on 28 October in Galway University Hospital.

Officials in diplomatic circles in Dublin said meetings were planned with politicians of all creeds in an effort to indicate the exact position on abortion in Ireland "in light of strong headlines".

The India Times reported the death of Ms Halappanavar with the headline: "Ireland Murders Pregnant Indian Dentist."

Ms Halappanavar, 31, was 17 weeks pregnant when she died after suffering a miscarriage.

Her husband Praveen has alleged that doctors refused several requests for a medical termination because the foetus's heartbeat was present.

He also alleged the couple were told: "This is a Catholic country."

In Dublin, Indian ambassador Debashish Chakravarti met officials in the Department of Foreign Affairs.

"There have been contacts with Indian authorities," a foreign affairs spokesman said.

Minister of State Brian Hayes said he accepted that Ireland has suffered reputational damage as a result of Ms Halappanavar's death.

A demonstration by the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had been expected at the Irish embassy in New Delhi over the controversial death.

Mr McLaughlin offered to hold talks with a delegation, where a protest letter may be handed in.

It is understood Indian officials will wait to see if Ms Halappanavar's husband returns to Ireland before taking any further action.

Pro-choice demonstrations are planned in Dublin for Saturday, with a march followed by a candlelit vigil at the Dáil.