Wednesday 19 June 2019

'The Taoiseach is failing victims' - Widower of woman who died after incorrect smear result

Stephen Teap and Vicky Phelan. Photo: PA
Stephen Teap and Vicky Phelan. Photo: PA
Robin Schiller

Robin Schiller

A widower whose wife died from cancer after receiving incorrect cervical tests has said the Taoiseach is "failing" victims of the smear test scandal after promising that no more women would have to go to court.

Stephen Teap, a father-of-two, lost his wife Irene to cervical cancer last July after she received two incorrect test results.

Earlier today, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar stated he should have been "more clear" when he previously said that no other woman affected by the CervicalCheck scandal would have to go through the courts.

Mr Varadkar was speaking after it emerged that Ruth Morrissey, who has cervical and breast cancer, was forced to give evidence in the High Court over a negligence dispute in her case relating to screen test audits.

Stephen Teap and his wife Irene with their sons Noah and Oscar, pictured on Christmas Eve 2016 – just months before she died
Stephen Teap and his wife Irene with their sons Noah and Oscar, pictured on Christmas Eve 2016 – just months before she died

Reacting to the Taoiseach's latest comments surrounding the smear test controversy, Stephen Teap described Ms Morrissey's ordeal as "torturous for everyone in the country" to witness.

The widower also criticised Leo Varadkar's lack of action in the wake of the controversy emerging.

"All of us victims of this are looking for our leader to stand up. When he spoke in April it was nothing but apologies, (there was) no action whatsoever.

"The whole thing is just terrible at the moment. The Taoiseach's actions currently are unforgiveable," Mr Teap told Today FM's The Last Word.

"We need a leader and he is failing at every opportunity. Everything he is saying at the moment has no meaning behind it right now. We need somebody to stand up and take control of it, and he's failing at every step of the way," Stephen Teap added

The father-of-two, whose wife Irene passed away just over a year ago, said that a priority is for the State to ensure that no further victims have to go through the High Court.

He described the process as "torturous" and raised concerns that other victims have had "the fear" put into them over facing lawyers in the courts.

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