Savita inquest set to open in Galway Courthouse

The inquiry into the death of Savita Halappanavar is set to take place in the second smallest courtroom at Galway Courthouse, which will likely prove to be a space problem due to the widespread interest in the case.

In addition to national and local reporters vying for seats on Monday, there will also be a jury of up to 12 people, along with witnesses who made statements to Gardai, and the various legal personnel representing both the HSE and Praveen Halappanavar.

At the hour-long preliminary hearing in January, junior counsel for Mr Halappanavar, John O’Donnell, indicated that a senior counsel, Eugene Gleeson, would also be present for the hearing, and that the services of a stenographer would be required.

Coroner for West Galway, Dr Ciaran MacLoughlin, was advised that 48 members of hospital staff had already made statements in relation to the medical care the pregnant woman (31) received at UHG prior to her death on October 28 last year – there were another six statements due to be handed over within a week of the preliminary hearing, and a further eight were said to be outstanding.

The Coroner advised both sides to come to some agreement over which witnesses needed to be called and questioned on the content of their statements.

Mr Halappanavar may well call additional expert witnesses to give evidence, Mr O’Donnell added, depending on the content of the statements made by medical staff.

Dr MacLoughlin also listed five names of medical witnesses, who rank among the most competent specialists in the country, who would be giving independent evidence to the inquiry on his behalf – the County Council has agreed to foot the bill for them.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.