Dignity of lives lost should not be forgotten in circus

Next Monday, a circus will descend on Galway. Media of all hue and definition will head west for a hearing that will be seen to set the agenda for a debate that has long divided this country. For more than a week, the focus of the country will be on the deliberations of a coroner and his witnesses in a case which has brought Galway to the attention of the world.

It is a case that is being used by all sides to advance a cause. And on all sides, it is a cause to which their proposers are strongly committed. It has often been difficult to comment on this case without being seen as a supporter of one side or the other, as being part of that agenda. It should be the case that the media should act as a conduit, but often this is not the case.

What should not be forgotten over the next week is that this story is more than just the justification of a belief. We will hear a story of a man and a woman who wanted to start a family, who this week should be celebrating the birth of a daughter, but who are now a family separated, with one person being left terribly lonely and at the centre of a maelstrom.

What happened to Savita Halappanavar should not happen to anyone else. People have expectations of the great institutions in their lifes, their work, their healthcare, their religion, their society, and among these expectations is the belief that we will all do the best we can for each other to ensure we are happy, healthy, and safe.

Above all of this will lie a large political typhoon, into which this decent family have been thrown. There are many to whom this tragedy is fodder for their beliefs, a case study to be learned from. But it is not just that. Savita should not be remembered as the face of a tragedy in a long running emotive social cause. She was a wife, a best friend, a daughter, a colleague. Let her memory be preserved with dignity in the week ahead when her most private details will be bared for all the world to see.


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