President Michael D. Higgins has made a dramatic intervention in the case of Savita Halappanavar, saying that an inquiry must satisfy her family.

His intervention comes as Savita’s husband Praveen has made clear he will not take part in the government’s current inquiry which is being handled by the Health Service Executive (HSE) who also run the Galway hospital where Savita died after hospital authorities insisted that her 17-week-old fetus that had no hope of surviving, not be aborted until its heartbeat stopped. Savita later contracted sepsis and died.

“These people are salaried by the HSE,” he said. “They pay them. We think that there would be some kind of bias during the investigation.”

President Higgins said the investigation must “above all else” meet “the needs of the public’s concern..the need of the family and meet the need of the State,” he said.

His comments appear to put him in conflict with the government who have insisted the inquiry will go ahead whether or not the family co-operate.