Vicky Phelan: I feel a responsibility because I'm the person who brought this to the attention of the nation

Vicky Phelan has said that she has faith in the work being carried out by Dr Gabriel Scally following the publishing of the interim report into the CervicalCheck scandal.

The government published the first findings of the Scally Inquiry into the CervicalCheck scandal this morning and it was revealed that the inquiry will not meet its end of June deadline.

Dr Scally has criticised state agencies for not getting information to him fast enough.

Speaking to RTÉ 1 Drivetime, Ms Phelan said that she is not surprised that the inquiry is facing delays.

"I suppose I shouldn't be totally cynical and assume that it is a delay, deny and defend kind of a strategy," she said.

"I'm not surprised that Gabriel has been stonewalled to be honest, I know he didn't use the term but I certainly would."

Ms Phelan said that she is happy with the positive elements to come out of the report.

"I'm delighted that some of the recommendations are now going to be put in place with immediate effect so that we can get a screening process back up and running that we can put our faith in," said Ms Phelan.

The second thing that I'm glad to see is the ex gratia payments to women because there are women in this situation that have been affected by this controversy who are in dire straights who can't work for various reasons whether they are in treatment at the moment or can't work because of the side effects of the treatment which as I have mentioned a number of times is hard on the body.

Ms Phelan spoke extensively with Dr Scally today after reading the interim report.

"I have faith in what he is doing," she said.

"He's trying to do this in a way that there aren't going to be any injunctions taken or any legal objections, so that he does it all right, so that there can't be any loopholes for this not to happen.

"I fully believe that he will get to the end of the inquiry that will lead to a commission of investigation."

She explained that she has been in regular contact with Dr Scally since his arrival in Ireland saying: "I know that he trusts my opinion and I trust him".

Ms Phelan also told that she has been in contact with Simon Harris this week to push for a letter to be sent to all of the 209 families affected by the CervicalCheck scandal.

This letter would include information on the Scally inquiry which Ms Phelan says some families are unaware exists as well as contact information to contact Ms Phelan and the support group she has set up.

Mr Harris has said that a letter would be sent to families this week.

Ms Phelan said that she gets frustrated about how information for those affected is "drip fed".

I suppose I feel a responsibility because I'm the person who brought this to the attention of the nation and I know that people are listening to me. Even though, believe me, there are days when I don't really feel like doing anything but at the same time I feel as though I can do this and I do have some sway with some politicians and with Gabriel Scally because it was me who brought this out.

"And with the women because some of the women don't want to go public for various reasons that they don't feel they would be able to take this on.

"In my case, I've known about this since January so I have had three or four months out of the public eye to get my head around it."

Speaking of Dr. Scally working on the report across the summer, Vicky told Mary that he will be producing reports as they come, rather than holding out to the end.

She is hopeful that the story will be kept in the public eye over the summer, "and not just go away which is what the HSE would probably like to happen.

"It's important for me that this story is kept alive."

Speaking of her own health, Ms Phelan said that her treatment is working really well although she is tired and needs a lot of rest.

You can listen to the full interview with Vicky Phelan below:

Digital Desk


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