Fleming says Varadkar unfair to women involved in cervical cancer controversy

Roisín Shortall critical of delay in providing promised supports

Sean Fleming: “He says what people want to hear, but he doesn’t do anything”. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Sean Fleming: “He says what people want to hear, but he doesn’t do anything”. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

The chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Fianna Fáil TD Sean Fleming maintains that Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has been unfair to the women involved in the cervical cancer controversy.

It was unfair that the Taoiseach had given unrealistic expectations on the timeline for the scoping inquiry being conducted by Dr Scally, he said.

“He says what people want to hear, but he doesn’t do anything,” Mr Fleming told RTE’s Morning Ireland.

The PAC chairman also accused the HSE of not being forthcoming with information for Dr Scally and of “a lack of candour”.

The HSE’s behavior could have been foreseen, he said. It was to be expected that like big organisations they would try to cover their tracks.

Mr Fleming said the Taoiseach had said that no woman would have to go to court but some were now doing so because they could not get the information they needed.

Social Democrats co-leader Roisín Shortall also criticised the delay in providing the supports promised to the women involved. She also asked why some facts in relation to the controversy could not be put into the public arena immediately.

“Time is of the essence because some of the women are very sick.”

She said it was “nonsense” the manner in which the HSE was providing documents to Dr Scally’s inquiry. “I don’t know if it is deliberate, but it draws attention to the lack of IT systems within the HSE.

“The HSE needs to be told to sort it out. Many documents were recently compiled they should be available in electronic format.

“There is no reason why documents in electronic format cannot be sent on.”

Ms Shortall queried why Dr Scally could not provide information on the cytology laboratories immediately. Information on the tendering process, accuracy rates and if there were higher false negative rates in the US laboratories.

“That would be a starting point.”