Savita death: Irish cabinet to see panel's report today

The Irish Church on Monday finally broke its silence over the controversial death of Dr Savita Halappanavar, a dentist, as doctors refused her request for an abortion. The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin called it a ''terrible disaster''.

University Hospital GalwayMeanwhile, the Irish cabinet is expected to discuss amendments to its anti-abortion law today, a day after the Irish Parliament discussed an expert committee's report into the death of Savita Halappanavar. But the process by all accounts will be long-drawn, and there will be no early amendment of the abortion laws.

The Archbishop, addressing mass attendees, said, ''Here's a family that six weeks ago was going into what should have been one of the happiest moments of their lives - the birth of a new child. Now the whole thing has collapsed into a terrible disaster ... you just don't know how the father is standing up to such a terrible disaster.''

However, he stopped well short of actually saying that Ireland needed to change its abortion laws to prevent such disasters in future.

The Archbishop also rejected criticism that Ireland was not a safe place for pregnant women and said he was ''a little distressed at some of the reaction''. Despite international outrage, he was ''not ashamed to be Irish'', he said.

Protests continued to mount in Ireland as well as globally, with 53 Members of the European Parliament (MEP) having written a strongly-worded letter to Ireland's Prime Minister Enda Kenny demanding immediate legislation to allow abortion in cases where the mother's life is in danger.