Thursday 20 June 2019

Cervical Check scandal: Government failed to deliver on promises to women affected, Dáil told

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin made the comments during leaders’ questions in the Dail (PA)
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin made the comments during leaders’ questions in the Dail (PA)
The report by Dr Gabriel Scally (Niall Carson/PA)
Dr Gabriel Scally arrives at Buswells Hotel in Dublin to deliver his report examining the scale of the outsourcing of smear tests by laboratories contracted to do the work by the HSE. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
John Downing

John Downing

THE Government has failed to deliver on promises made a year ago to the women stricken by the Cervical Check debacle, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said.

Mr Martin cited the comments of Dr Gabriel Scally in his second report on the scandal.  He told the Dáil that the current redress and complaint system “converts serious error into injustice” and this in turn is finalised by compensation.

The Fianna Fáil leader asked about progress on various promises made to the women in the wake of the scandal breaking last spring. In tetchy exchanges with the Taoiseach, Mr Martin dismissed suggestions that he was being excessive.

“You made commitments at the time and it is our job to ensure that you fulfil them,” Mr Martin said.

The Taoiseach paid tribute to Dr Scally and his team for two helpful reports on the issue. He said the Health Minister hoped a tribunal of inquiry into the issue could be established before the end of this year.

Mr Varadkar said that legislation for this was with the Oireachtas health committee and he hoped that committee would pass on the process of pre-legislative scrutiny to allow it be passed by the Dáil and Seanad before the year’s end.

Investigation: Dr Gabriel Scally is reporting on smear test scandal. Photo: Frank McGrath
Investigation: Dr Gabriel Scally is reporting on smear test scandal. Photo: Frank McGrath

Mr Varadkar said his Government was committed to pursuing a “no-fault compensation system” which could help in complex and distressing medical cases. The issue is currently being examined by a senior judge but he warned that no-fault compensation usually meant lower awards and nobody was held to account for what went wrong.

The Taoiseach also said progress was made in introducing a support package for the women caught up in the Cervicalcheck failures. This included €1m in various payments.

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