Simon Harris ‘not ruling out’ significant cancer tests redress package

Health Minister Simon Harris is “not ruling out” a multimillion-euro cervical cancer tests compensation scheme despite confirming cabinet will not fast-track the redress packages at its meeting today.

Speaking to reporters last night amid growing concern over the scale of the fallout, Mr Harris said it is vital the Government establish all facts of the case first before deciding how to help those affected.

However, despite saying “I’m not ruling out” a compensation scheme for those affected in the future, he indicated the Cabinet is not in favour of the move at this stage by saying he is “only one minister” and the entirety of the Government “will decide how to respond”.

“In relation to redress that is something I’m not ruling out, but what I want to do firstly is establish facts and provide women crucially with their information,” he said.

“Every woman who is impacted should have heard from her hospital today, and then obviously the Government will decide how to respond.”

Asked to comment on the fact the failure to fast-track a compensation scheme for women affected by what happened means at least three women who have taken high court cases will still have to face a divisive courts system, he repeated the scheme has not been ruled out in the future. 

However, he said all ministers and a number of Government agencies will need to be involved in a decision to launch a redress scheme, adding he is “only one minister”.

Any compensation scheme is likely to cost in the tens of millions of euro due to the fact 17 women involved in what happened have died and others are seriously ill.

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