Minister Harris must ensure full accountability regarding Cervical Cancer scandal – McDonald

Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD has stated “Health Minister Simon Harris has a duty to ensure those responsible for the failings which lead to the Cervical Scandal are held fully to account”.

Speaking from Dublin today, Teachta McDonald said;

“We have not seen any accountability so far. The Minister must now ensure that there is full disclosure of information. The government cannot sit on its hands. It must be proactive in identifying, contacting, and engaging with affected women.

“Minister Harris must ensure that no other victim is pursued through the courts. The focus of government must now be on the protecting the welfare of the victims and the welfare of women throughout the state who will be worried about the reliability of their smear tests.

“Ultimately, the Minister for Health must ensure that the full facts are established and that those responsible these devastating failures are held to account. That must involve serious questions being put to not only those in charge of the Cervical Check programme but also the leadership of the HSE.”

Teachta McDonald added that the government must bring to an end the “culture of concealment and harassment within the HSE when it comes to these matters.

“We must remember that this wasn’t only a failure in the screening process. Information was knowingly withheld from these women.

“It is a disgrace that the state, the government, and the HSE consistently behave the way they do when such cases arise. It is unacceptable that agencies of state pursue victims of their failures and do so in such an aggressive manner.

“They behave this way because they take their cue from government. The government has been enabling this harassment of victims. This must be brought to an end by Minister Harris and his colleagues or they should vacate government.”