Aontú Leader Peadar Tóibín TD has called on the government to clarify its position in relation to the Cervical Check Scandal. It comes after an exchange in the Dáil with Minister Feighan and further exchanges between Deputy Tóibín and Cervical Check at a meeting, by written correspondence and again yesterday at the Oireachtas Health Committee meeting.
Deputy Tóibín said: “Cervical Check has indicated in a written letter to myself and in conversation with myself, that there is no basis to the decisions of the Courts, the apology of the government and the compensation of these women. Again, while questioned in the Oireachtas Health Committee yesterday by myself, the Clinical Director of Cervical Check refused to accept that the slides accepted to me misread by courts were outside the normal margin of error that would be expected in such a Cancer Screening Process. Again when interviewed on the RTE Claire Byrne Show today Clinical Director of Cervical Check refused to accept that the misread slides were mistakes or misreadings”.
“It is startling that an organisation of the state is operating openly in direct contradiction to government policy, the government apology and the decisions of the Courts. This is a serious slap in the face to the women’s campaigning groups. There are 231 legal cases that have been taken so far in relation to Cervical Check. This is despite the Tánaiste promising these women that he would not force them through the courts adversarial system. It looks now to me that Cervical Check are positioning themselves to fight these cases. The Minister for Health must clarify asap why the state has taken two divergent positions. It owes this to the women”, concluded Deputy Tóibín.
Having been furnished with the letter Cervical Check sent to me, and having reviewed the exchange in the Health Committee yesterday, Vicky Phelan has issued the following statement:
“I honestly give up. This comes 2.5 years after my case broke open the Cervical Check debacle and an independent review by Dr Scallt found that Cervical Check was doomed to fail, identifying serious gaps in governance structures and misogynistic treatment of women”.
The 221+ group had the following to say on the matter:
“The 221+ patient support group is deeply concerned by comments attributed to Dr Nóirín Russell at the Oireachtas Health Committee in respect of the future of the Cervical Check programme. We will be writing immediately to the Independent Chair of the Cervical Check Steering Committee ro express concern that these comments betray commitment of government and operational agencies to cultural change in Cervical Check which was identified as essential in the Scally Report”.