The Government's commission of investigation into the cervical cancer tests scandal could be delayed by "months" because up to 3,000 women potentially affected must be individually contacted before their results can be examined.
Dáil public accounts committee chair and Fianna Fáil TD Sean Fleming made the claim this morning after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed the individual contacts during a Dáil debate on Wednesday.
Speaking at the latest PAC meeting this morning, Mr Fleming noted Mr Varadkar's comments and said it is important women are individually contacted before British experts access their files.
However, the PAC chair added that the situation could significantly delay the Government's commission of investigation into the scandal which is planned to begin in September, causing further distress for those involved.
"To get consent from thousands of people is going to add months to the process," Mr Fleming told the PAC before its meeting with the National Treasury Management Agency and the State Claims Agency this morning.
While no exact timetable has been provided, the Department of Health last week suggested the review of individual files could take four to six months.
Mr Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris had originally claimed when the cervical cancer tests scandal publicly emerged in late April that the initial review process would be completed by the end of May.