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Varadkar confirms independent review will be carried out into an abortion at the National Maternity Hospital

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said his heart goes out to the couple involved in the case.

Image: Mark Stedman

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has confirmed that an independent review is to be carried out into the case involving an abortion at the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street.

Last week, it emerged that earlier this year a couple were told their baby had a fatal foetal abnormality. 

It is understood that an abortion was then carried out at over 15 weeks. 

It was thought the baby had Trisomy18, also known as Edwards Syndrome, but a series of genetic tests later found that that was not the case. 

The parents sought an external investigation.

Speaking in the Dáil today, the Taoiseach confirmed that “steps are being taken for an independent review to be undertaken”. 

He added that “his heart goes out” to the couple involved in the case. However, he said this is a “deeply personal” issue for the couple and “should be confidential”.

Varadkar said he was not going to discuss such a personal issue in the Dáil chamber, stating that he did not think it was appropriate. 

Speaking to RTÉ on behalf of the family, solicitor Caoimhe Haughey said over the weekend that the family were devastated by what had happened. 

“This couple are utterly, utterly mentally and physically devastated,” Haughey said. 

Their loss and their sense of grief is interminable. What has happened to them is incomparable. What they want now is honest answers.  

Speaking later to Virgin Media News, Haughey said that the couple were already “in a deep state of grief and undergoing a process grieving” when they found out about the misdiagnosis.

“They did not go into this clinic or into this hospital with a view to having a termination,” she said.  

“They went into this hospital to find out how well their pregnancy was going. Were mom’s dates right, that kind of thing.

But this led them down a path when suddenly they’re talking about termination. They never brought up the word termination.

 Test

In a statement last week, Holles Street said they couldn’t comment on individual cases but that a review is to be carried out.

“We can confirm that we have asked the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to conduct an independent review of a recent case at the hospital,” they said. 

However, in a statement issued in the wake of the initial reports of the case a spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said:

“We can confirm the RCOG has not yet received a formal approach to undertake this review. Should an approach be forthcoming, this will be considered in the usual way.”

With reporting from Conor McCrave 

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