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Thousands rally over abortion rights in Ireland Last Updated : 18 Nov 2012 12:50:29 PM IST
Thousands of people, upset over the tragic death of an Indian dentist, have held rallies and candle light vigils across Ireland demanding changes in the country's draconian abortion laws.
"No more tragedies", the placards of the protesters read in Dublin and Galway as they demanded the change in laws.Savita Halappanavar, 31, died in an Irish hospital last month after doctors refused to terminate her pregnancy despite telling her that she was miscarrying.
She died of blood poisoning after spending three days in pain and agony. The rally in Dublin yesterday saw large crowds march from the Garden of Remembrance at Parnell Square to Leinster House,where a candle-lit vigil and one minute silence was held,
state broadcaster RTE News reported.
Irish police said over 6,000 people took part in the march, however organisers said the attendance figure was significantly higher.
Meanwhile, up to 1,000 people took part in a vigil for Halappanavar in Eyre Square in Galway, where a one minute silence was held in her memory at 5:20pm (local time) yesterday.
Earlier about 60 members of the Indian community gathered outside University Hospital Galway and held two minutes of silent prayer for her. Events were also held in Ennis, Clonakility, Letterkenny,Kilkenny, Sligo, Limerick and Carlow while a vigil took place at the Irish embassy in London.
Ireland had said it will not be rushed into an immediate decision on right to abortion even as it assured India that an independent medical professional will assist the enquiry into the death of Halappanavar.Indian Ambassador to Ireland Debashish Chakravarti had met Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore to convey the deep "concern" of Indian government at the tragic death of Halappanavar.
Expressing the hope that steps would be taken so as not to allow such an incident to recur, the Ambassador had also conveyed India's desire for an independent enquiry into the matter. He also requested to be kept updated about progress.
Earlier Minister of State at the Department of Health Kathleen Lynch said if the expert group on abortion recommends legislation, the Government will have to act on it.Arriving at the TEEU (largest engineering union in Ireland) conference in Portlaoise, Lynch said she would like to see the expert group report published as soon as possible.
She said she had not seen the report but has discussed it with Minister for Health James Reilly.Meanwhile, the police have said they are assisting the Coroner in relation to the death of Savita Halappanavar.
The Health Service Executive has said it has identified an international expert in obstetrics and gynaecology to join the Inquiry team reviewing her death.
Ireland says won't be rushed into decision on abortion right
Ireland has said it will not be rushed into an immediate decision on right to abortion even as it assured India that an independent medical professional will assist the enquiry into the death of an Indian national who was refused termination of her pregnancy despite miscarrying.
Indian Ambassador to Ireland Debashish Chakravarti met Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore last evening to convey the deep "concern" of Indian government at the tragic death of Savita Halappanavar. Expressing the hope that steps would be taken so as not to allow such an incident to recur, the Ambassador also conveyed India's desire for an independent enquiry into the matter. He also requested to be kept updated about progress.
Gilmore extended deepest sympathies of Ireland at the death of Halappanavar 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 and assured that the enquiry being conducted by the Health Services Executive would be assisted by an independent medical expert.
He said the investigation would be completed at an early date and the Irish side would work closely with the Indian mission and cooperate on all aspects.
Meanwhile, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has said he is awaiting a report by an expert group on the issue but will not be rushed into an immediate decision on right to abortion. Kenny said his government would go through the report and indicated it will take its own time in arriving at a decision.
Halappanavar, 31, died in Ireland due to blood poisoning after doctors allegedly refused to terminate her 17-week pregnancy, telling her that it was a Catholic country. Savita died of blood poisoning after spending three days in pain and agony.
India had summoned the Irish Ambassador in New Delhi yesterday to convey its "concern and angst" over the tragic death of Savita and hoped the enquiry instituted into the case would be "independent".
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