“Even in death the government would not desist from arguing with Morrissey family” – Tóibín
Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD has hit out over a remark made by a spokesperson for Leo Varadkar in recent days following the death of 39-year-old cervical check campaigner Ruth Morrissey.
Deputy Tóibín said:
"This nation breathed a collected sigh of sorrow when news broke at the weekend that Ruth Morrissey had died at the age of 39. In a statement, Ruth's widower said that Ruth had never received an apology from the State or the HSE. In the days that followed a spokesperson for the Tánaiste issued a statement expressing sympathy to the family but added that "as Taoiseach he gave a formal State apology to all the women and their families affected by the Cervical Check crisis in October 2019". Many people would have been shocked by this statement. Even in death the government would not desist from arguing with her family".
Deputy Tóibín continued: "It is important to note that just a few weeks after the State apology Ms Morrissey and her family were subjected to an appeal by the State. We all remember those heart-breaking photographs of a visibly frail Ruth making her way to the four courts. The State fought the Morrissey family all the way to the Supreme Court, mercilessly. She received the compensation on Thursday, she died on Sunday. It is important to remember too that Simon Harris, the then Minister for Health back-tracked on the wording of the apology and appeared to retract part of the apology. The State had apologised for the 'deceit', but the Minister at the time came out afterwards to tell the press that he wasn't sure about that word. (https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-30959272.html). When it comes to Cervical Check, from where I stand it looks as though the government are still in self-protection mode and remain incredibly oblivious and insensitive to the suffering of the women and families affected".
"On RTE News on 11th May 2018, Deputy Varadkar promised to work to ensure that no other woman would be dragged through the courts, and yet not alone did they fight Ruth all the way to the Supreme Court, but there are currently 130 sick women battling in court as a result of the Cervical Check debacle. We know there are now huge delays, backlogs and capacity issues within the testing system currently, and these must be addressed. It is not good enough that the government simply issue a half-hearted State apology and then pretend that the subject is closed. We owe it to the women who have died to fix the system, to apologise without conditions, and to cease subjecting women to lengthy court cases", concluded Deputy Tóibín.