Taoiseach warns State bodies not to obstruct CervicalCheck inquiry

Dr Gabriel Scally has ‘direct line’ to Minister for Health, says Varadkar

Dr Gabriel Scally: to chair an  independent inquiry examining the CervicalCheck controversy . Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Dr Gabriel Scally: to chair an independent inquiry examining the CervicalCheck controversy . Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has warned State organisations not to obstruct the work of the independent inquiry examining the CervicalCheck controversy.

He told the Dáil on Wednesday the Government had appointed Dr Gabriel Scally to chair a scoping inquiry and its terms of reference had been agreed by the Oireachtas.

“So should it be the case that anyone obstructs the work of Dr Scally, there are also obstructing the Government,’’ he added.

“So I want to make it very clear, if it is not clear already, to any agency or public body that we expect full co-operation with Dr Scally and his team.’’

Mr Varadkar said he would not accept anything less than that.

He said Minister for Health Simon Harris had met Dr Scally in the past few days to assure him that he had a direct line to the Minister if he ran into any further difficulties.

Dr Scally said on Tuesday he had not received documentation from the Department of Health, the Health Service Executive, CervicalCheck and the State Claims Agency until last week.

This, he said, was despite the investigation being launched at the beginning of May, when all organisations had pledged their full support for the scoping inquiry.

Replying on Wednesday to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, the Taoiseach said it was intended to have a commission of investigation when Dr Scally had finished his work.

Seperately, Mr Harris said the HSE’s actions were “pathetic” and that he would be writing to them today telling them to give the documents requested by Dr Scally in the format that he wants.

Straight shooter

Speaking on RTÉ Radio, the Minister defended Dr Scally’s approach to the scoping inquiry, saying that it had been endorsed by the Irish Cancer Society.

He said Dr Scally had not made up the terms of reference for the inquiry, they had been given to him by the Government and Oireachtas Committees.

“He needs to answer as many questions as he can, as quickly as he can. Dr Scally is a straight shooter. He will have those answers by the end of the summer.”

Mr Harris said that Dr Scally would continue to provide interim reports and that the quicker he can arrive at a recommendations with regard to the cytology laboratories “would be good.”

With regard to documents requested by Dr Scally, the Minister said he wants him to have them “within days.”