Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Public Accounts Committee

Management of Legal Costs and Policy on Open Disclosure (Resumed)
Implications of CervicalCheck Revelations (Resumed)
2016 Financial Statements of the State Claims Agency (Resumed)
2016 Financial Statements of the HSE (Resumed)

5:00 pm

Photo of Jonathan O'BrienJonathan O'Brien (Cork North Central, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I will be very brief as we have already been here for two hours. I thank you for your testimony today. I do not know what else to say. It was difficult to listen to and as I can only imagine how difficult it is for yourselves and your families to go through this, I thank you.

I have a comment and two brief questions. My comment relates to what you said earlier about the wrangling period. My understanding was similar to that of Deputy Kate O'Connell, namely, that that period of disagreement between the labs concluded around May or June 2016. My understanding - and I will double-check tomorrow - was from the documentation we had received, which said that a meeting was requested between the national screening service and the labs. After that took place, all legal correspondence ceased.

My questions relate to some of the issues that we heard last week and on which I seek your views. Last week, representatives of the State Claims Agency claimed that they were completely opposed to the non-disclosure agreement which Vicky was being asked to sign. They said that under no circumstances did the agency support that. Can Vicky say whether that was communicated to you or your legal team? Perhaps Cian O'Carroll can answer that. When did either Vicky or Cian become aware that the State Claims Agency had taken the position that it was completely opposed to the use of a non-disclosure agreement in Vicky's case?

What sort of process was there in respect of obtaining documents? Was co-operation given to Vicky and her legal team up to this week? Can Cian say what the attitude has been by CervicalCheck towards releasing documentation to people, in his experience? Is there an open procedure to getting that information or is there still a culture of trying to put obstacles in people's way in terms of getting the documentation to which they are entitled?


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