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CervicalCheck scopes out the damage

Inside Politics: The events of the past few days have painted a troubling picture of how the health service is run

The Government is to establish a scoping inquiry into the recent CervicalCheck controversy.

The investigation will examine the immediate questions surrounding the issue and assess if a commission of inquiry is necessary.

The action was prompted by the drip feed of information regarding the number of women affected by this sorry mess.

A statutory inquiry by the Health Information and Quality Authority had initially been proposed but the limitations of such an investigation became apparent over recent days.


The Government was reluctant to set up a commission of investigation as it was feared the investigation may take years to complete and will cost a significant amount of money. Time is not something many of the women have.

However, the constant emergence of new information has made it almost impossible to avoid. The scoping exercise will aim to answer a number of these questions. A person from outside the State will be appointed to conduct the examination.

There is no doubt that the events of the past few days have painted a most troubling picture of the way in which the health service is run.

The poor communication and lack of oversight will come as no great surprise or shock to anyone who has followed the actions of the Health Service Executive or those operating under its auspice.

On every occasion there is a promise made that such failures will never happen again and yet they do.

As the director general prepares to leave his post, there is an opportunity to transform the manner in which the HSE is run and question whether it is appropriate one person should be responsible for running a health service and all the agencies connected to it.

Fianna Fáil says no

We could be forgiven for forgetting there is a referendum approaching, considering the week’s events.

However, tomorrow marks three weeks until the referendum on the Eighth Amendment. The Irish Times has been carrying out a number of fact checks on claims made by both sides in the campaign.

If there is anything you would like assessed in the upcoming referendum, please contact me on

Meanwhile, the politics of this referendum continues to play its toll. This week, 31 members of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party held an event to call for a No vote in the forthcoming referendum.

The party’s deputy leader Dara Calleary, finance spokesman Michael McGrath and a number of other frontbench spokespersons were present.

The event shows the deep division within the party over the referendum. No matter whatever the outcome on May 25th, the rift among Fianna Fáil TDs will remain difficult to overcome.