Tuesday 25 June 2019

'He needs to take control' - Vicky Phelan to challenge Taoiseach over pledge CervicalCheck victims would not face court battle

  • Vicky Phelan to meet with Leo Varadkar tomorrow
  • Pressure mounts on Government over ongoing court case
  • Ms Phelan will ask Varadkar to make good on pledge that no women would need to go to court
Vicky Phelan. Photo: Fergal Phillips
Vicky Phelan. Photo: Fergal Phillips
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

THE woman who exposed the CervicalCheck controversy has sought a meeting with Taoiseach Leo Vardakar over his assurances that no other women would have to go to court in relation to the scandal.

Vicky Phelan, whose court case first shone a national spotlight on the issue, said she has decided to take up a long-standing offer to meet with Mr Varadkar in order to highlight the ongoing case of Ruth Morrissey.

Ms Morrissey, from Monaleen, Limerick, has faced a gruelling High Court ordeal and says she only learned of an attempt at mediation by the State Claims Agency after being alerted by the media.

On Friday, Ms Morrissey's solicitor Cian O'Carroll said she and her husband were deeply hurt the State had sought to misrepresent the "sham mediation".

Ms Phelan will meet with the Taoiseach tomorrow and said she was "saving" the offer of a meeting for a time when she really needed it.

"The time is now... I've been following Ruth's court case quite closely when it started last week and hoping that it would go to mediation," Ms Phelan told RTÉ Radio One.

The women know each other personally and Ms Phelan said she is shocked the case had reached the courts.

"I think he needs to take control. He is the leader of this country... he needs to take back control of these cases from the labs," she said.

Ruth Morrissey outside court with her husband Paul. Both gave evidence in support of their claim against the HSE and the labs. Picture: Collins
Ruth Morrissey outside court with her husband Paul. Both gave evidence in support of their claim against the HSE and the labs. Picture: Collins

The purpose of the meeting is to urge the Taoiseach to "make good on his commitment" that no woman would have to face court Ms Phelan said.

"If he doesn't I don't think he should be in the position he is in," she added.

Stephen Teap, whose late wife Irene was also affected by the scandal, said it was "inhumane" for ill women to be faced with a court battle while also dealing with their illness.

Political pressure has been mounting on the Taoiseach and Health Minister, Simon Harris, to address the scandal.

Both Mr Varadkar and Mr Harris have issued statements on the case of Ms Morrissey.

A Government spokesman has said that while mediation "may not always succeed at first, it must remain an option in all cases". He added: "The State participates in a sensitive and compassionate manner, as has happened in two previous cases."

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