Written answers

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Department of Health

Departmental Investigations

Photo of Louise O'ReillyLouise O'Reilly (Dublin Fingal, Sinn Fein)
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621. To ask the Minister for Health the status of the establishment of the CervicalCheck tribunal; when it will be formed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11109/20]

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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In December 2018 the Government agreed to set up a statutory Tribunal to provide an alternative system for dealing with claims arising from CervicalCheck. The Government also announced that Ms. Justice Mary Irvine would be appointed as Chairperson of the Tribunal.

The legislation necessary to establish the CervicalCheck Tribunal, the CervicalCheck Tribunal Act 2019, passed through the Oireachtas and was signed into law by the President on 23 July 2019. The legislation sets out the functions of the Tribunal, which include hearing and determining claims in respect of CervicalCheck outside of the court process and facilitating Restoration of Trust Meetings.

For the Tribunal to begin carrying out its functions, Section 4 of the Act requires that ‘The Minister shall, by order, appoint a day to be the establishment day for the purposes of this Act.’

Since the passage of the legislation through the Oireachtas, Department officials have been working with Tribunal Chairperson making the administrative arrangements required to establish the CervicalCheck Tribunal.

As the key administrative arrangements were in place, it was intended that the CervicalCheck Tribunal would be established by the end of March 2020. However, due to the outbreak of Covid-19, in line with the public health measures being taken to control the outbreak of the virus it was decided to delay the establishment of the Tribunal. Of particular concern in establishing the Tribunal is that the claimants are in a group considered to be particularly at risk if they were to contract the virus.

As the restrictions are now being eased and arrangements are being put in place in the Tribunal to ensure it can operate as safely as possible, it is expected that the Tribunal will be established shortly. It is intended that the Tribunal’s function in respect of hearing and determining claims will be commenced initially and its function in respect of Restoration of Trust Meetings will be commenced at a later stage.

Once a date for the establishment of the Tribunal has been decided, it will be announced on the Tribunal website www.cervicalchecktribunal.ie and will communicated directly to the relevant parties.


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