WATCH: Taoiseach invites Limerick's Vicky Phelan to meeting over HSE controversy

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Vicky Phelan on Prime Time. She has been invited to have a private meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

Vicky Phelan on Prime Time. She has been invited to have a private meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

VICKY Phelan, the Limerick woman whose High Court case revealed one of the HSE’s biggest controversies to date, has been invited to a private meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. 

Ms Phelan was last week awarded a €2.5m settlement after taking a High Court case against a United State laboratory, after she wasn’t informed of an incorrect smear test in 2011 until last year. 

In 2014, the Annacotty mum-of-two was diagnosed with terminal cervical cancer. This January, she was informed that she had six to 12 months to live. 

After the High Court case, it emerged that 208 women were affected by the Cervical Check controversy, and that 162 women were not informed of that an audit was taking place and the outcome of the review. 

The HSE confirmed that 17 of the 162 have died. 

However, Minister for Health Simon Harris confirmed in the Dail on Tuesday that a “potentially considerable number of cases” where women developed cancer were not subjected to an audit. 

Though he did not have specific figures, he agreed with Fianna Fail’s health spokesperson Stephen Donnelly that it could be in the region of 1,500 women. 

During an interview on RTE’s Prime Time with Miriam O’Callaghan on Tuesday night, Ms Phelan confirmed that an invite for a private meeting with the Taoiseach was extended to her. 

Ms Phelan, en route to Dublin, received a phone call from an official in the Taoiseach’s office. 

“He was asking would I like to meet with the Taoiseach. The Taoiseach has offered to meet with me privately, so I said ‘yes’ in principle, but at the moment I’m trying to concentrate on my health and I have a lot of treatments coming up this week, so I told him I’d get back to him,” she said. 

Fianna Fail TD for Limerick City, Willie O’Dea, says the Government must not delay in the establishment of the independent inquiry into the Cervical Check controversy.  

Deputy O'Dea welcomed the move to set up an independent investigation, but warned that it must not be used to withhold information from the public.