Donnelly to update Cabinet on CervicalCheck Tribunal latest

Donnelly to update Cabinet on CervicalCheck Tribunal latest

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly has been trying to finalise arrangements for the tribunal to deal with the fallout of the CervicalCheck scandal but has met with criticism from campaigners, the 221+ Group. File picture: Julien Behal/PA Wire

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly is to bring an update to Cabinet about the controversial CervicalCheck Tribunal tomorrow, it is understood.

Mr Donnelly has been trying to finalise arrangements for the tribunal to deal with the fallout of the CervicalCheck scandal but has met with criticism from campaigners, the 221+ Group.

Several Government sources indicated Mr Donnelly’s intention to bring the update but his spokeswoman was not in a position to comment on the matter.

The update comes after the 221+ support group said its members are so disappointed that they had to walk away from the tribunal. It wrote to Mr Donnelly saying it was withdrawing from any further consultation over the CervicalCheck Tribunal, describing it as a "pointless waste of time".

The letter was signed by members of the group's executive committee, including Vicky Phelan, who is having ongoing treatment for terminal cancer.

In a statement, 221+ said it had written to the Minister for Health to "end exchanges in respect of the CervicalCheck Tribunal and express our utter frustration at the pointless waste of time that has been the past three weeks".

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Helen McEntee is seeking Government approval for a scheme which will see anyone found guilty of sharing intimate images without consent face up to seven years in prison. The Cabinet is set to approve new offences to tackle the non-consensual posting of sexual images.

New offences to deal with the recording, sending, distributing or publishing of intimate images without consent will all be included in the Harassment, Harmful Communications and other Related Offences Bill which had been brought forward by Labour's Brendan Howlin in the last Dáil and which has the support of the Government.

Mr Howlin, who has campaigned on the issue for many years, said it is an offence to assault a person either physically or verbally walking down the street, however, he said the internet, which is also a public space, does not come under the same regulations.

Ms McEntee is expected to hold a press conference after Cabinet, her first since the controversy over her stance on taking Dáil questions on the Seamus Woulfe affair erupted last week.

It had been anticipated that Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman was to bring a memorandum seeking permission to publish the 4,000 Mother and Baby Homes report but it has been delayed.

More in this section