Opposition 'crass' for playing party politics with women's health, says Harris

Health Minister Simon Harris says his decision to offer free smear test re-checks was consistent with advice he was given by senior civil servants.

Opposition 'crass' for playing party politics with women's health, says Harris

Health Minister Simon Harris says his decision to offer free smear test re-checks was consistent with advice he was given by senior civil servants.

Mr Harris insists he was not given advice to the contrary before making his decision last year in the wake of the CervicalCheck scandal.

The extra smear test re-checks have led to a backlog of almost 80,000 women waiting for results.

Mr Harris hit out at the opposition for playing party politics with women's health.

"In a letter from my department to the Ceann Comhairle in February in response to Micheal Martin's parliamentary questions

"We also clarified that the decision that I made was consistent with the chief medical officer's advice

"It's a little bit disappointing that some are choosing to play party politics with such an important issue in relation to women's health.

I think it is actually more than disappointing, I think it's a bit crass.

"I guess that might be the time of the political cycle we are in, but it does nothing to serve women's health," he said.

More in this section

Lunchtime News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up