Written answers

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Department of Health

Tribunals of Inquiry

Photo of Niamh SmythNiamh Smyth (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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1070. To ask the Minister for Health the status of a tribunal (details supplied); the status of the appointment of its new chairperson; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18986/20]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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The legislation necessary to establish the CervicalCheck Tribunal, the CervicalCheck Tribunal Act 2019 (the Act), passed through the Oireachtas and was signed into law by the President on 23 July 2019. The Tribunal is being set up to hear and determine claims in respect of CervicalCheck outside of the court process.

As the key arrangements for the CervicalCheck Tribunal were in place including the premises, membership, staffing and rules and procedures, it was intended that the 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.

Ms. Justice Mary Irvine who was originally announced as the Tribunal’s nominated Chairperson when the Government agreed to set up the Tribunal in December 2018, was appointed as President of the High Court on 18 June 2020 and therefore will no longer be in a position to carry out the role of Chairperson of the Tribunal. Separately, Mr. Justice Michael Peart who was nominated for appointment as an ordinary member of the Tribunal has informed the Government that he will not be taking up that post.

The Act requires that the Tribunal shall consist of a chairperson and at least two ordinary members; accordingly it will not be possible to establish the Tribunal until suitable persons have been identified for appointment to the Tribunal upon establishment.

I am engaged in the process of identifying suitable new members for appointment. Once this process is complete, and the newly nominated chairperson is satisfied with the arrangements in place, the Tribunal will be established as soon as possible thereafter, and its members will be formally appointed under the Act. The Tribunal will be in a position to begin receiving claims immediately upon establishment.

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