Ireland needs to do better for its women and girls

30 April 2018

Labour Party spokesperson on Health Promotion, Cllr Martina Genockey, has said steps must be taken to reassure women who are understandably worried and concerned in the wake of the Cervical Check controversy.

Cllr Genockey said:

“I think every woman around the country is feeling a sense of anxiety as well as shock and horror at what has been emerging in the Cervical Check controversy in recent days.

“There are no words to describe what women like Vicky Phelan and their families must be going through in this nightmare scenario. And if it weren’t for the bravery of Ms Phelan who knows whether the full extent of this controversy would even have come to light.

“Every woman who has ever had a smear test will appreciate the sense of nervousness that comes with awaiting their results, and the peace of mind or need for action that comes either way on receiving those results.

“That some women are now having to question whether they can trust what comes back in the post is a truly frightening and upsetting situation to be in. Yesterday, around 2,000 people had already called the helpline.

“Having regular pap smears is an absolutely vital aspect of women’s health, but the women and girls of Ireland also need to know that they can have 100% confidence in the system.

“This controversy has raised questions about the Cervical Check register, including whether we should be outsourcing our smears to the United States, which seems to operate a different type of system regarding how often smears are recommended.

“This is an issue my Labour Party colleagues Deputy Jan O’Sullivan and Emmett Stagg were raising as far back as 2008, when the decision was first made to outsource these tests overseas.

“These questions need to be answered and acted upon fast, so the women of Ireland can again have confidence in the system.

“As with the need to repeal the 8th amendment of the Constitution, it is high time that we as a country prioritise women’s health. Ireland needs to do better by its women and girls and our health system is at the very heart of this and no expense should be spared. All the women in our lives deserve better than this.”

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