The Aontú leader and Meath West TD, Peadar Tóibín, has disclosed to the Dáil that Cervical Check have told him they do not agree with the government or courts’ assessments of the Cervical Check scandal.
Speaking in the Dáil on the 7th of July, on the Cervical Check Tribunal Amendment Bill, Deputy Tóibín said:
“Before Christmas I held a meeting with the Clinical Director of Cervical Check, regarding the content of a letter she had sent to me. In this meeting and in the letter Cervical Check criticised remarks I had previously made in the Dáil on the scandal. They criticised me for suggesting that women had been wronged, they criticised my use of words like ‘mistakes’ and ‘misreadings’. Women have not been wronged, they said, they have just been unfortunate.
When probed at the meeting, Cervical Check clarified that their position was in contradiction to the rulings of the courts and the position of the government. Remember the government has issued a State apology to women affected. It is extremely significant that Cervical Check do not accept that women have been wronged, that slides have been misread or that mistakes have been made.
Different arms of the State – the government, the courts, are in conflict with another arm – the HSE/ Cervical Check. When I raised this with the Taoiseach at the time said he would, and I quote, ‘check’ this contradiction out immediately because he said ‘we all have to uphold decisions of the courts and the supreme court’. The Health Minister subsequently wrote to me to say that Cervical Check had confirmed that their position was not as I alleged it to be.
When I probed as to how he arrived at this conclusion, Minister Donnelly confirmed to me in a PQ that he did not meet or correspond with Cervical Check on this issue – he instead studied remarks they had made to the media. This is incredible. A blatant contradiction remains at the heart of the government approach to Cervical Check which basically says to the women that have been wronged, sorry but not sorry. This has caused major hurt to the survivors of Cervical Check.
Responding to the remarks made by the Clinical Director of Cervical Check in the Health Committee, Vicky Phelan said she was shocked to see such an attitude was still in place “2.5 years after my case broke open the Cervical Check debacle and an independent review by Dr Gabriel Scally found that CervicalCheck was doomed to fail to identify serious gaps in governance structures and misogynistic treatment”
The 221 plus support group also said they were deeply concerned by comments attributed to the Clinical Director of CervicalCheck. They immediately wrote to the Cervical Check Steering Committee to express concerns that the comments betray the commitment of Government and operational agencies to a cultural change in Cervical Check.
Tribute has been made by many here tonight to the many women such as Vicky Phelan who fought for justice. I would like to echo these tributes. But these tribute ring hallow if one arm of the state still maintains they did nothing wrong”, concluded Tóibín.