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CervicalCheck support group end talks with government as tribunal remains unchanged

221+ wrote to the Health Minister today to end the discussion, saying that they were “frustrated” with the response they received.

CervicalCheck campaigner Vicky Phelan is among those who signed the letter to Minister Donnelly
CervicalCheck campaigner Vicky Phelan is among those who signed the letter to Minister Donnelly
Image: Leah Farrell

THE SUPPORT GROUP for women who have been affected by the CervicalCheck scandal have ended discussions with Health Minister Stephen Donnelly after adjustments could not be made to the upcoming tribunal.

221+ wrote to the Health Minister today to end the discussion, saying that they were “frustrated” with the response they received from the government, calling the last three weeks “pointless”.

“Four and a half months into its term we are forced to conclude that this Government, which could finally have done the right thing on this issue is in fact speaking out of both sides of its mouth,” said the group in a letter to Minister Donnelly.

CervicalCheck campaigner, Vicky Phelan, had previously expressed anger at the process surrounding the tribunal’s creation, with women impacted by the scandal not given an opportunity to weigh in on the decision.

The group, which was set up in 2018, sought to have the tribunal changed to reflect the new legal context after judicial decisions were reached in both the Ruth Morrissey and Patricia Carrick cases.

“We didn’t just point out the problems, we also proposed solutions. We acknowledge that some of those solutions were not possible at the stroke of a pen but they are entirely possible if those in Government had the will to act with the interests and needs of this group of victims at heart. They clearly don’t,” said the group in a statement.

We see no point in continuing this process. This Government had the opportunity to oversee a solution for these women that is better than the long fight through the courts. It chose otherwise and that will be its legacy when the debacle of the past could now be consigned to the archives.

The group had previously said that they had no confidence in the proposed tribunal and the group is now solely focused on supporting the women and families impacted by CervicalCheck.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Minister said his priority was to facilitate the “least onerous process” for the women and families affected by the CervicalCheck controversy.

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The spokesperson pointed to recommendations by Mr Justice Charles Meenan that a tribunal was “more compassionate” to legal proceedings in the High Court, saying it offered a “better route for women and families to progress their legal actions”.

They added that women and families have attempted to lodge claims at the tribunal in recent weeks, but noted that they were unable to do so as the tribunal is currently paused.

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