Longford councillors heap pressure on Harris to increase payments to women affected by Cervical Check scandal

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Simon Harris

Minister for Health Simon Harris

Health Minister Simon Harris is coming under pressure to step in and increase an immediate ex gratia payment to women affected by the Cervical Check controversy from €2,000 to €50,000. 

It comes after local politicians unanimously voted in favour of passing a motion calling on the Wicklow TD to provide additional financial support to those affected and their families.

The appeal was made by Fine Gael Cllr Peggy Nolan at last night's meeting of Longford County Council as she called for a suspension to standing orders in an attempt to address the issue.

"I am asking that this council take the initiative to ask the Minister with immediate effect to make an interim payment to the 209 women whose lives are now in danger because of this scandal of €50,000 to those families," she said.

ALSO READ: Longford women unite in bid to address cervical check scandal

Cllr Nolan's impassioned appeal following a government agreement to approve an immediate ex-gratia payment of €2,000 to each woman affected by the fallout.

The Cabinet on Tuesday signed off on a proposal by Dr Gabriel Scally, the chair of an independent scoping inquiry, to provide money to each of the 209 women and to the next of kin of any women who has passed away.

Appearing more and more emotional as she continued her address, Cllr Nolan also called for the motion to be circulated to all other local authorities.

She said the payment was needed now and ahead of a State redress scheme that would be set up to assist those affected.

"It’s the least they deserve and while it won’t replace a mother, grandmother, sister or an aunt but  it will certainly ease the terrible burden on those families," she said.

The council's only other female representative Cllr Mae Sexton was quick to endorse the proposal, saying the CervicalCheck furore was just the latest calamity to affect women.

"The kinds of barriers these women have faced just to get information has been scandalous," she said.

"Women in this country have suffered scandal after scandal by successive State agencies and it is a disgrace that they haven't learned their lesson."