Transparency and accountability key to cervical cancer investigation - David Cullinane TD
Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane, a member of the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee, has said today that truth and consequences must prevail in any investigation that is held into the cervical cancer scandal.
Deputy Cullinane said:
“I want to commend the work of Vicky Phelan and Stephen Teap and the other victims who have now secured an open and public investigation into the cervical cancer scandal.
“This is something that Sinn Féin has consistently called for and is long overdue.
“I just hope that it is not another one of the Taoiseach's promises such as the one the made two months ago that future cervical cancer cases would be addressed through mediation and not the courts.
“It is also worth noting that were it not for the courage of Vicky Phelan, Emma Mhic Mhathuna, and Stephen Teap, the government would still be sitting on his hands trying to shelve away the issue.
"It is because of their actions that the Public Accounts Committee and the Health Committee were able to do their jobs and start the process.
“At all times throughout this scandal the government has been reactive rather than pro-active and that is simply not good enough.
“In terms of the investigation itself, we must make sure that it is subject to greater terms of reference than those currently allowed by legislation.
“At the moment, commissions of investigation are held in private, it is a criminal offence to make public any evidence given, and no evidence given at such a commission can be used in any future criminal prosecution.
“Privilege is about who is allowed to make mistakes and who is not.
“It is clear that serious mistakes were made with regard to the cervical cancer screening programme.
“Will there be any consequences for those who made those mistakes or will we see another round of hand-wringing and a chorus of 'it is now time to move on.
“There is a culture of obfuscation and back-covering at the top of the civil service and public sector - one that is allowed to fester as there is no real accountability.
“At the end of this process we need to see people in positions of authority held accountable for the decisions they made.
“Unless that happens nothing will have changed, and that cannot be allowed to stand.”