Dublin South West Sinn Féin TD, Seán Crowe, has welcomed the Bill to establish the CervicalCheck Tribunal but said that in the interests of full disclosure the Tribunal must allow those who have previously received an award from a court settlement to give evidence.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“I welcome the publication of the General Scheme of Bill to establish the CervicalCheck Tribunal, it marks a significant step in the investigation of the CervicalCheck scandal. It will hopefully bring greater clarity and understanding about what went so drastically wrong and lay foundations to ensure that this never happens to women ever again.
“The Tribunal should hear and determine all issues of negligence, breach of duty, breach of statutory duty, breach of contract, and other relevant matters.
“It will offer the women affected the opportunity to give full evidence of their story and determine claims. In the case where a woman has unfortunately passed away, it will offer an immediate family member the opportunity to give evidence and also determine a claim for damages.
“I am glad that those affected will be offered the opportunity to have their hearing in public or private. This is extremely important for those women who want people to know and hear how they were mistreated first hand.
“As the CervicalCheck scandal was breaking last year one of the most frustrating aspects for those affected was the failure of the HSE, CervicalCheck, and the Department of Health to release all relevant documentation. It is vital that the Tribunal will have the necessary powers and remit to compel witnesses and any documentation it feels is relevant to their deliberations.
“There are also some areas that need to be considered further, including the denial of those who have previously received an award from a court settlement to give evidence to the Tribunal. While we understand that a second claim cannot be made, we feel that it is important that all of those affected can give evidence to the Tribunal in order to help it come to its conclusions.
“On the whole, I welcome the publication of the general scheme of this Bill to establish the CervicalCheck Tribunal and Sinn Féin will work constructively to ensure that it passes through all stages in the Dáil and Seanad swiftly.”