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Image / Editorial

Leo Varadkar will issue a state apology for the CervicalCheck scandal today


by Erin Lindsay
22nd Oct 2019

Vicky Phelan via Twitter

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The Taoiseach is expected to make the announcement to victims of the CervicalCheck controversy at the Dáil today


The State is expected to issue a formal apology to victims of the CervicalCheck failures and their families today.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is expected to make the announcement in the Dáil this afternoon.

The CervicalCheck scandal first came to public attention in 2018, when it was revealed that 206 women had developed cervical cancer after having a misdiagnosed smear test under the national CervicalCheck scheme. Of those 206 women, 162 had not been informed that their smear test results were incorrect.

Since the issue became public knowledge, a number of women have died, and it is estimated that over 1000 women and families have been affected by the event.

Remember their names

One of the first women to publicly come forward about their misdiagnosis under Cervical Check was Vicky Phelan, a mother of two from Limerick. Phelan had a smear test in 2011 that showed no abnormalities but was then diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2014. An internal review found that Phelan original smear test results had been incorrect, but she was not informed of this until 2017, which caused her to sue the Texas-based clinic which processed the results.

Phelan has since become a spokesperson against the scandal and has written a memoir about her experience with terminal cancer.

Among the many women who have died as a result of the misdiagnoses was Emma Mhic Mhathúna, a mother of five who passed away in October of last year after a battle against cervical cancer. Mhic Mhathúna famously called for the HSE to be ‘dismantled’ after her misdiagnosis, and instructed for her funeral procession to make its way past the Dáil after her death.

‘A significant day’

The 221+ group, which consists of the women affected by the scandal and their families, have said that they will “closely analyse the content and delivery of the apology”. Many of them will be present in the Dáil today to witness the apology in person.


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