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'Raw and needless cruelty': CervicalCheck cases 'a no-win situation' for all involved

Yesterday Ruth Morrissey said she hopes the decision in her case will be a positive thing for other women affected by the scandal.

Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

THE SUPPORT GROUP for the women impacted by the CervicalCheck scandal has said court cases, like the one Ruth Morrissey and her husband Paul were awarded damages in yesterday, are “a no-win situation for all involved”.

The couple were awarded €2.1 million in damages in what was viewed as a test case in the wake of the controversy. 

The 221+ CervicalCheck Patient Support Group said the case highlights “our deepest concerns about the raw and needless cruelty of forcing women, who it is accepted have already been wronged by the State, into an adversarial public legal process that makes them feel like they are on trial just to establish the profile or the extent of that wrong and how it happened”.

“This is simply unacceptable. A better and more compassionate mechanism is required as a priority to enable those involved establish the basis of the wrong done to them in private without being put through that adversity,” the group said. 

Responding to the ruling, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said yesterday that legislation for the establishment of a tribunal to handle these cases is being prepared. 

The support group said many of the women impacted “do not have time on their side”.

We need our legislators to give the legislation for the tribunal, and its enactment, a priority that we have not seen in recent months so as to eliminate the needless added stress and pain being heaped on women who have suffered enough through no act of their own.

There were similar comments from Labour’s Alan Kelly, who pointed out that the legislation for the redress scheme has yet to come to the floor of the Dáil.

“Once the Dáil comes back next week, there are twelve sitting weeks, that is ample time to get this legislation through both Houses of the Oireachtas. Women and their families should not have to wait until the middle of next year for this redress scheme to be established,”he said.

“This is a disgrace, and can’t happen again. I am at a loss as to why another family has had to go public and fight for decent treatment in the courts.

All women who are at the centre of this scandal want to enjoy their lives at this point, they should not have to waive their anonymity and deal with all the publicity that comes with that, while dealing with a terminal cancer diagnosis.

“We know more cases are going to come before the High Court and the State is going to lawyer up to take on these women, which completely goes against everything the Taoiseach promised.”

Yesterday Ruth Morrissey said she now wanted to move on and spend whatever time she has left with her daughter and with her husband Paul, who she said her been her “rock”. 

She said she did not think she would be in this position after the Taoiseach said women affected by the scandal would not have to go to court. 

“Unfortunately, I’m the one that had to so I hope that’s a positive thing for the women left, that they don’t have to do this and fight for what is their right to have a good life, what they’ve left.”

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