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Saturday 30 September 2023 Dublin: 10°C
Sam Boal/ CervicalCheck campaigner Vicky Phelan is among those who signed the letter
# 221 Plus group
CervicalCheck support group tells government 'time is up' to discuss proposed tribunal
The 221+ group wrote to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly today.

A SUPPORT GROUP representing women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy has told the Health Minister it has no confidence in a Government tribunal being set up to examine the scandal.

The 221+ group wrote to Stephen Donnelly today accusing the Government of “ignoring” it and of “playing politics” with the issues affecting women impacted by the controversy.

The group was set up in the wake of the original CervicalCheck scandal by former health minister Simon Harris.

The minister brought a memo to Cabinet last month that would set up the long-awaited tribunal to investigate negligence in the State’s cervical cancer screening programme. The tribunal was first announced by government in 2018.

However, campaigner Vicky Phelan expressed anger about the establishment of the tribunal at the time, saying that women and families were not afforded an opportunity to respond to the minister’s decision before it was announced.

Discussions have continued in recent weeks, but a letter from the group to Donnelly today accused the Government of changing its position and suggested that it increasingly viewed further dialogue as “pointless”.

The group said in a statement that it wrote to Donnelly following comments by Taoiseach Micheál Martin in the Dáil yesterday, which the group said referred to movements on the tribunal and also mentioned a further Cabinet review next week.

“It seems that that we are back to learning about Government’s views on the CervicalCheck Tribunal at the same time as the public,” the letter read.

“We are getting to the point where this discourse is pointless when what we have offered by way of input and evidence is either being ignored or we are being talked over.”

The group also re-iterated that it had no basis to express confidence in the proposed tribunal.

It added that it believed “time is up” to discuss the tribunal, and that the group’s executive committee would tell its members that it would stop doing so by the weekend if the minister could not provide a basis for discussions to continue in the coming days.

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