A statement issued on behalf of Tánaiste Leo Varadkar following the death of CervicalCheck campaigner Ruth Morrissey was 'crass and insensitive', according to Labour leader Alan Kelly.
Deputy Kelly is also calling for the State to stop outsourcing cancer screening to international labs and bring testing back home, saying it's something Ms Morrissey "really felt was important".
Ms Morrissey, who had cervical cancer, passed away peacefully yesterday at Milford Hospice with her husband by her side.
She was awarded €2.1m by the High Court in 2019 over the misreading of her smear test results, and the Supreme Court was told last week that the Limerick woman and her husband Paul had been paid the full sum.
A statement issued on behalf of Paul Morrissey after his wife's death said: "Despite the magnitude of the harm caused to her by avoidable errors, despite the broken promise of a Taoiseach who said no other woman would have to go to trial, despite using Ruth as a test case through the final years and months of her life, neither the HSE nor the State has ever apologised to her, and now it is too late."
Following that statement, a spokesperson for Leo Varadkar said: "The Tánaiste extends his sympathy to the family and friends of Ruth Morrissey on her passing.
"As Taoiseach, he gave a formal State apology to all women and their families affected by the CervicalCheck crisis in October of 2016."
Speaking on The Hard Shoulder, Deputy Kelly said it was "a crass thing for the Tánaiste to issue".
He said: "I think he should have a word with whoever sent that out on his behalf.
"It was quite insensitive. The apology he - quite rightly - made in Dáil Éireann did not cover her, because her court was actually going through the Supreme Court at the time - the State had chosen to appeal Ruth's case."
Deputy Kelly said Mrs Morrissey was an "incredible woman" whose legacy will be felt by generations of Irish women.
He said: "[The State] lost, and the absolute confidence standard - which is per norm as what's in Britain - is now what is to be implemented here in Ireland.
"That is the legacy, during a very difficult time for Ruth and her family... the legacy of what she has achieved. We should always be thankful and remember her.
"In such a difficult time, where she had a terminal illness, she was put through the Supreme Court by this State in a case that they lost."
The Labour leader said there are a few legislative issues to 'clean up' following the outcome of the case, but suggested there's one big thing that still needs to be done.
He said: "The one other major issue is we need to bring home screening in Ireland.
"We need to bring home all that lab work, and stop the outsourcing over the coming years and bring it all back home. That's something [Ruth] really felt was important."