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O’Brien resignation ‘only the first step in accountability process’ – O’Reilly

11 May, 2018 - by Louise O'Reilly TD


Sinn Féin TD and Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly has said that Ireland cannot be a place where terminally ill women must take to the national airwaves to achieve some sense of justice and that a culture of true accountability must be established so that we never find ourselves rueing another scandal like CervicalCheck, where a culture of concealment and self-preservation outweighed any sense of compassion or duty.

The Dublin Fingal TD said:

“It is of the utmost importance to give women like Vicky Phelan and Emma Ní Mhathúna the answers as to why they were failed so utterly by the state.

“We must also work to rebuild public confidence in the cervical screening programme. This process saves lives. We cannot lose sight of that, but we can never repeat the mistakes of the past that have led us to this moment. Concealment and self-preservation outweighed any sense of compassion or duty to women who were effectively handed a death sentence and not even made aware.

“We have called for accountability and, last night, Tony O’Brien announced his resignation. This is an important first step, showing that it is possible for those in power to take responsibility for their failures, but it is just that, a first step.

“The process of accountability must now continue. We need to see full disclosure of all the relevant information. We need to know who knew what and when they knew it. There must be a thorough investigation of the policy of concealment and cover up strategy. Also, concrete explanations must be provided regarding the decision to outsource the screening process in 2008 and why legitimate criticisms of this decision were ignored.

“Ireland cannot be a place where terminally ill women must take to the national airwaves to achieve some level of justice.” 

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