Statement from 221+ regarding the delay in the establishment of the CervicalCheck Tribunal

The Department of Health yesterday confirmed the further delay to the establishment of the CervicalCheck Tribunal following the appointment as President of the High Court of the previously selected Chairperson of the Tribunal.

The purpose of the CervicalCheck Tribunal is to enable women and families impacted by the acknowledged failures of the State through CervicalCheck to have their cases heard through a discrete in-camera process without being subjected to the exposure of the traditional court setting. Having already seen the Tribunal delayed by COVID19 we are deeply concerned and increasingly frustrated at this further delay.

We wrote to Minister Donnelly immediately on his appointment as Minister for Health requesting his urgent attention to the establishment of the Tribunal in keeping with the commitment in the Programme for Government to address the outstanding issues from the CervicalCheck debacle.

Many of those whose cases should be heard by the Tribunal live with the lifelong effects of cervical cancer. It is now two years since the creation of the non-disclosure redress scheme confirmed that they had been failed by the State, a finding further underlined in the Scally scoping enquiry.

This extended delay just drags that pain out further. For many it will undermine their confidence that the CervicalCheck Tribunal will ever happen pushing them into an unwanted court appearance because they will feel now have no other choice. For others, time delays are critical and these women deserve to be heard by the Tribunal without further delay.

We therefore reiterate today our request of last week to end rather than prolong the suffering and loss of those injured by CervicalCheck. We would welcome the opportunity to meet with the Minister at the earliest opportunity, to convey our concerns directly and to request that the timeframe for the establishment of the CervicalCheck Tribunal be reviewed again as a matter of urgency.

 

In response to below update on  www.cervicalchecktribunal.ie

6th July 2020 – Update on Establishment

When the Government agreed to set up the CervicalCheck Tribunal in December 2018, it also approved the appointment of Ms. Justice Mary Irvine, who was then a Judge of the Court of Appeal, as Chairperson of the Tribunal.

Following nomination by the Government, on the 18th June 2020, Ms. Justice Irvine was appointed as President of the High Court and therefore will no longer be in a position to carry out the role of Chairperson of the CervicalCheck Tribunal.

Separately, Mr. Justice Michael Peart who was nominated for appointment as an ordinary member of the Tribunal has informed the Government that he will not be taking up that post.

The CervicalCheck Tribunal Act 2019 requires that the Tribunal shall consist of a chairperson and at least two ordinary members and as such it will not be possible to establish the Tribunal until suitable persons have been identified to take up the posts. Once the Tribunal is established, nominated members will be formally appointed as members of the Tribunal by the Minister for Health.

The Minister for Health is engaged in the process of identifying suitable new members for appointment to the Tribunal. Once this process is complete and the nominated chairperson is satisfied to do so, the Tribunal will be established without delay.

The video featuring Ms. Justice Irvine that was posted to the website earlier in the year is still available here. Although some of the content is now out of date much of the information in the video is still relevant.

Further updates in relation to the establishment of the Tribunal will be posted on this website. Any queries should be submitted to info@cervicalchecktribunal.ie.

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