NUI Galway has suspended the pre-screening questionnaire prospective employees had to fill out while a review of the process is undertaken. 

In a statement this afternoon, the university said the process was introduced in 2008 and took place after a candidate had been offered a position forming no part of the job interview. 

Earlier, NUIG said it takes on board the concerns that have been raised about its pre-employment health assessment form, which asks female job applicants about their menstrual cycle.

In a statement this afternoon, NUI Galway said it will review its process in order to ensure that it continues to follow best practice in the area.

A Sinn Féin Senator earlier called for an independent review of equality issues at the university.

The Connacht Tribune first reported on the assessment, which has been described as "invasive", "misogynistic" and "excessively personal". 

The form contains questions such as: "Do you suffer with any problems with your menstrual periods? Do you suffer any breast problems? Have you ever been treated for gynaecological problems?".

It also asks if "you have ever suffered from prostate problems?"

The college said: "No person is deemed unfit for employment on the basis of the information disclosed on the occupational pre-placement health assessment form alone."

It also said the questionnaire, implemented in 2008 following a decision by its Governing Authority, replaces the need for a face-to-face medical consultation for staff.

"The detail of the medical questionnaire used for pre-employment health screening is a confidential process between doctor and patient."

It said the "detailed questions are asked in an effort to identify underlying physiological problems which may require further support".

Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Irish Language, Rural Affairs, and the West, Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, said the questions were outrageous.

He said: "I'm very concerned. I think it is a very invasive line of questioning to be asking any future employee. I think some of the questions are totally out of order. 

"As some commentators in the college have said they're bordering on misogynistic in some cases. I can't understand why any third-level institution would be asking any prospective employee questions that are of such an invasive nature and intrude into people's privacy.

Mr Ó Clochartaigh questioned the motives behind the questions.

"I think if it is about somebody's competency to be able to do the jobs - their academic qualifications, their track record - is very important.

"But whether or not they have underlying health issues could be ascertained without going into so much detail about whether somebody has any problems with their menstrual periods, their menstrual cycles or whether they're had any prostate issues. 

"I can't understand why you'd ask so specific questions of people and I think it is totally outrageous."

He called for a review by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

He said: "I think it is an issue that the equality authority needs to look into. There are concerns as well about data protection - Who is going to get this information?  What is it being used for?

"Is there a danger it could be used for reason that are not stated on the form? If you answer yes are you going to be discriminated against? 

"There are ongoing calls for an independent review of equality issues in the college. There are fears that this is bordering on misogynistic and that women are not being treated in an equal manner in NUIG. 

"This adds to the calls for a total independent review of equality issues in the college. I think it's totally unacceptable and should be stopped immediately."