CervicalCheck tribunal starts work and is accepting claims from women

Minister for Health decided to formally begin tribunal after talks with 221 Plus group stalled

‘It is understood Stephen Donnelly committed to finding a way of addressing the issue of statute of limitations in conjunction with the attorney general. However, some members of the support group felt there was not enough detail yet to justify holding further meetings with the Minister.’ Photograph: Laura Hutton / The Irish Times.

‘It is understood Stephen Donnelly committed to finding a way of addressing the issue of statute of limitations in conjunction with the attorney general. However, some members of the support group felt there was not enough detail yet to justify holding further meetings with the Minister.’ Photograph: Laura Hutton / The Irish Times.

 

The CervicalCheck tribunal has started its work today and is accepting claims from affected women for the first time.

A decision was made at the weekend by the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly to formally begin the work of tribunal after talks with the 221 Plus support group recently stalled.

The group had been looking for assurances in relation to the statute of limitations and the ability of women to return to the tribunal should they suffer a recurrence of cancer.

Those talks collapsed last month as the group said they felt those issues were not fully addressed. The support group said it would advise its members that there was nothing available in the tribunal that was not available to the women in the High Court.

The Cabinet discussed the issue at length last week and agreed that Mr Donnelly would reach out to the group again.

He contacted the group, but sources say that there were no concrete assurances given on the key issues which had been raised.

It is understood Mr Donnelly committed to finding a way of addressing the issue of statute of limitations in conjunction with the attorney general.

However, some members of the support group felt there was not enough detail yet to justify holding further meetings with the Minister.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said a number of women have made inquiries to the tribunal but have not yet managed to lodge a claim because the members had not yet been officially appointed.

“The tribunal has not been in a position to receive claims as, without members, it cannot adopt rules of procedure under which claims can be made. The tribunal office has received a number of enquiries from the legal representatives of claimants,” she said.

The Irish Times understands, however, that the tribunal has, as of Tuesday morning, been instructed to begin its work and begin corresponding with women.