Sunday 19 August 2018

Little wonder the women of Ireland are starting to lose faith in brand Leo

If this is how officialdom behaves when it is in the spotlight, what the hell happens in private, asks Brendan O'Connor

Vicky Phelan: Women have been watching how the State has reacted to this whole scandal, and they don’t like what they see Photo: Fergal Phillips
Vicky Phelan: Women have been watching how the State has reacted to this whole scandal, and they don’t like what they see Photo: Fergal Phillips
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

It's all getting real for Leo and the guys. The dissatisfaction rate, which is the difference between those who are satisfied with how the Government is doing its job and those who are not, tripled among women in the last month according to the MRBI poll in The Irish Times. So it was 10 points in the negative a month ago and now it is 29 points in the negative. Government satisfaction among women has plunged 12 points, to 29pc, in that same month. That is a fall of nearly a third in women's confidence and trust in this Government. That's freefall territory.

We are all clear by now - this story is just tragic. So, so sad. But equally, we need to be fair and clear. The Government is not responsible for giving people cancer. The HSE's apparent inability to inform women who had false negative smear tests, when they already had cancer, did not generally make a material difference to their treatment. Screening is not an exact science or a fool-proof diagnostic test, and there are many legitimate reasons why it may not pick up abnormalities or potential cancers. We know all that now.

The nature of screening, was not, we now know, generally made clear to those participating in the screening process. It was probably in the small print that passed for informed consent. There is no doubt many women took unjustified assurance from screening, but the Government did not give them cancer.

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