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Simon Harris must come into Dáil to answer questions on Cervical Cancer Scandal - Louise O'Reilly TD

30 April, 2018 - by Louise O'Reilly TD


Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has said her party has written to the Ceann Comhairle to ask for Dáil time to be set aside tomorrow for the Health Minister to come in and answer questions in relation to the Cervical Cancer Scandal.

Teachta O’Reilly also announced that her colleague David Cullinane TD has requested that the head of the HSE, Mr Tony O’Brien, be called before the Public Accounts Committee to answer questions regarding the outsourcing of Irish smear tests in 2008 despite concerns being raised at the time and circular issued in July 2016 that gave doctors room to inform or not inform women of misdiagnosis.

Speaking this afternoon Teachta O’Reilly said;

“The drip feeding of information in relation to this scandal needs to stop now.  We are now hearing news that at least 12 of the women who had delayed diagnosis have since died.

“My party has this morning written to the Ceann Comhairle to ask that Dáil time is set aside tomorrow to allow for Minister Simon Harris to come in and take questions.

“We need to know if these women were informed of their smear misdiagnosis before their deaths.  And if not, why not?  Was information deliberately withheld?

“There has to be accountability for this major scandal.  That includes finding out who was responsible for the July 2016 circular that gave doctors room to inform or not to inform women of misdiagnoses.

“We need to get to the bottom of why Irish smear tests were outsourced to an outside company despite concerns being raised at the time by a now former member of the National Cervical Screening Programme.

“My colleague David Cullinane TD has written to the Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee to request that the Head of the HSE, Mr Tony O’Brien is called before the committee to answer questions relating to these issues.

“There also has to be political accountability for the outsourcing of Irish smear tests.  My colleague Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin was very vocal at the time and raised serious concerns about the company involved including a conviction for fraud and an unacceptably high level of errors.  

"He said at the time that he shuddered to think of the long term consequences of this decision.

“Yet the Fianna Fáil led government of the time seen fit to outsource Irish smear tests to this questionable entity despite all the warnings rather than invest in the Irish system, a decision that has ultimately led to the scandal we are now seeing unfolding before our eyes.”

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