“359 Notifications to State Claims Agency Relating To Cervical Check Since 2017 Highlights Tribunal Failure” – Tóibín
The Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD has said that data released to him, which shows nearly 360 people have opted to take the legal route over the alleged misreading of smear test slides over the past five years, highlights that the “Cervical Check Tribunal has failed”. The Meath West TD was speaking as members of the 221+ advocacy group made a presentation to TDs and Senators in Leinster House.
Deputy Tóibín said: “The statistics released to us in Aontú are cause for alarm. There are more than the initially-suspected 221 people affected by this scandal. Nearly 360 claims have been received by the State Claims Agency in relation to this scandal. Meanwhile we know that only 22 claims are before the Cervical Check Tribunal. Vicky Phelan and the 221 plus group warned about the tribunal before it was established, we all knew women did not have faith in the tribunal, but the Minister wouldn't listen and ploughed ahead with the establishment of the tribunal anyway”.
Deputy Tóibín continued: “Stephen Donnelly extended the deadline for receipt of claims on multiple occasions in what I believe was an effort to encourage more women to make claims. But people affected have voted with their feet - 360 or so of them opting to go to court, and just 22 of them taking the tribunal route, according to the research Aontú have conducted. This, years after Leo Varadkar promised women would not be dragged through the courts and it is still happening. It is a complete and utter scandal and the scandal hasn't gone away, because we see that the claims are still coming through each year".
“The people affected by this scandal are the most important voice in this discussion, and they must be listened to by the government. We cannot persist with a situation where terminally ill women are being dragged through the courts, and are spending their remaining years, months, weeks or day in this life fighting in a cold legal system. It is inhumane”, concluded Tóibín.