Pending more detailed information on implementation we welcome, with some caution, the publication of the Judge Meenan Report today, which brings some clarity to the legal pathways open to women and families who have been impacted by the CervicalCheck debacle.
We are understandably disappointed that the earlier commitment by An Taoiseach to a totally non adversarial process has not been realised.
We compliment Judge Charles Meenan on his work which included consultation with the women, their families and representatives.
Judge Meenan, having considered other possible options, is now advising that a Tribunal be established, so that claims arising out of the CervicalCheck can be dealt with anonymously and privately.
We particularly welcome Judge Meenan’s statement to the effect that “Where liability is not being contested, e.g. in claims relating solely to nondisclosure, such claims can be “fast tracked” through the Tribunal”
We feel it important that a time limit is set on the establishment and work of this tribunal so that women, many of whom are ill, can be heard and have their issues resolved expediently.
Our concern in all of this is that the stress and uncertainty associated with the legal process is minimised for our members – as they also deal with the medical consequences and trust issues which have regrettably emerged.
Vicky Phelan of 221+ said this evening, “Noting Minister Harriss’ commitment to return to Government with proposals next month, we urge him and the government not to delay on this and look forward to entering into discussions with all stakeholders on how this Tribunal will be established and managed. We also urge the Minister to provide us with assurances on how the adversarial nature of such a process can be minimised”
We at 221+ will be supporting and advocating for the women and families involved in this tribunal, or whatever legal process they decide on, to find both answers and a satisfactory settlement as speedily as is possible.