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Dublin: 15 °C Wednesday 17 September, 2014

Savita solicitor: We released details slowly to keep media interest

Gerard O’Donnell, who represents Praveen Halappanavar, says his clients case has benefited from ‘sustained exposure’.

Gerard O'Donnell, the solicitor representing Praveen Halappanavar, seen at the preliminary inquest into Savita Halappanavar's death last week.
Gerard O'Donnell, the solicitor representing Praveen Halappanavar, seen at the preliminary inquest into Savita Halappanavar's death last week.
Image: Brian Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE SOLICITOR representing the husband of the late Savita Halappanavar has revealed that he and his client have deliberately chosen to release details of Savita’s case on a gradual basis in order to sustain the public and media interest.

Gerard O’Donnell, who has represented Praveen Halappanavar since his wife’s death at Galway University Hospital in October, told the Law Society Gazette that he and Praveen had decided to release details on a piecemeal basis for the benefit of the case.

“I realised this case would benefit from sustained exposure in the media rather than a one-off media ‘storm’, and so we chose to release information to the media more slowly in order to ensure that the case would have continued momentum,” he is quoted as saying in an interview.

He adds that the decision had “certainly worked” and had helped to bring exposure around the world, with TV crews from across the globe coming to Ireland to speak to Praveen about his wife’s death and his campaign for a public inquiry into the circumstances.

O’Donnell added that the case highlights “just how important the media is in society”:

The interest in this case could not be achieved simply by writing letters. The significant media coverage has helped place the spotlight on the Government and the issue of the vindication of the rights of its citizens.

The Galway-based solicitor, the principal of O’Donnell Waters solicitors, said he had hoped the government would grant Praveen’s request for a public inquiry, and was disappointed that no such inquiry had yet been granted.

He believes Praveen is entitled to a public inquiry under both the Irish Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights, he said.

Read: Preliminary inquest into Savita Halappanavar’s death takes place

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