Deputy Róisín Shortall has said the head of CervicalCheck "had no business" making comments that implicated some people would take cases to the tribunal in hopes of a payout, despite knowing they hadn't been wronged.
In December 2020, Nóirín Russell, clinical director at the national cervical screening programme made comments she didn't know were being recorded while on a video call with Peader Tóibín TD.
She said that some women claiming through the tribunal on the service’s failures know “in their heart and soul that they haven’t been wronged” but are using the process as they “might get some money” - the Sunday Times reports.
Speaking to On The Record, Social Democrats TD Róisín Shorthall described the comments as "dreadful" and "desperately insensitive".
"I think they're really unfortunate and very insulting to, you know, the people who are at the center of the CervicalCheck issue", she said
"Dr Russell has made the point that she was only just new in the job - doesn't really fully excuse them, and it shows a particular attitude that is entirely insensitive and unhelpful."
Presenter Gavan Reilly asked Deputy Shorthall whether she thinks someone with such an attitude should remain in the position.
Deputy Shorthall said: "Everybody who suffers from the system has a right to take a court case if they wish and she had no business making those comments."
She added that, while the comments were "highly inappropriate", she won't be calling for Dr Russell's resignation at this time, given how new the story is.
Attitude & culture
"The comments were wrong ... It displays a kind of an attitude and a culture, which has no place really in our public health service."
Dr Russell told the Sunday Times that she accepts her remarks were “careless and hurtful”.
She also said she has written to 221+, a CervicalCheck patient support group, to apologise to women affected by the comments.
Listen back to the full conversation here.