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Cynical Government send worrying message to women impacted by Cervical Check Scandal - Mary Lou McDonald TD

7 July, 2018 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has said "recently discovered delays give the message that this the government is not serious about addressing the Cervical Check Scandal."

Ms McDonald criticised what she described as "the government's cynical approach to the scandal which is failing the women affected and their families."

Speaking as she attended the ‘Standing 4 Women’ rally in Dublin this afternoon, the Sinn Féin Leader said;

"The government has cynically focused on containing and managing this scandal instead of actually addressing it in a genuinely victim-centred way. That means putting the women affected first. That certainly is not happening.

"Delay and obstruction has been the overriding theme of the government's handling of this most serious matter. While women are still forced to go through the courts to access their vital medical information, we hear that the essential review of 3,000 cervical smear slides hasn't even begun. This is in addition to the fact that the final report of the scoping investigation will also be delayed.

"As recently as Thursday, Fine Gael voted against a Sinn Féin Bill which seeks to make open disclosure mandatory. That to me signals that the government is not at all serious about addressing this scandal nor is it interested in learning lessons from it.

"To add insult to injury, we know that women are not being given full and complete information about how to access the €2,000 assistance payment. They are being sent into an information cul-de-sac by the HSE and the Department of Health.

"The Taoiseach and Minister Harris are at the wheel, so they must explain why this has been such a mess."

Ms McDonald said she now holds very real concerns that "the government is hoping to get into the Dáil recess and hope that public anger dissipates over the summer.

"I think that is a very nasty and cruel approach.The government knows that the Dáil will have to be in session for a Commission of Inquiry to be established. They are living in cloud-cuckoo-land if they think they will simply swan off on their summer holidays and allow Dr Scally’s report to be published without any action. 

"The Dáil may have to sit longer than scheduled or be recalled to ensure that the right thing is done. The support of the Oireachtas is the very minimum that these women deserve."


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