RTÉ News has learned that a number of the 206 women who developed cervical cancer, despite an earlier smear test showing they were all clear, have since died.

The HSE are currently reviewing the handling of the 206 women's cases, after doubts emerged over how many had been told the full details of their earlier smear tests.

The HSE are expected to confirm the exact number of women who passed away once the current review is completed. 

However, cervical cancer patient Vicky Phelan, who received a false negative smear test in 2011 only to be informed of the incident last year, said in a television interview with RTÉ presenter Ray D'Arcy that she believed at least three women who had earlier got an all-clear smear result had since died.

Sinn Féin Leader Mary Lou McDonald has said answers to a number of questions must be put into the public domain after it emerged that a number of the women who developed cervical cancer, despite an earlier clear smear test, have since died.

"This scandal raises the most serious questions for Cervical Check, the HSE and for the Government." she said.

"We need to know how many of the 206 women have died.and at what stage did Cervical check, the HSE and the minister become aware of these fatalities." she added.

Labour Health spokesperson Alan Kelly has called for the Oireachtas Health Committee to meet next week on the revelations about the cervical cancer screening programme.

"The revelations in the last few days about the Cervical Check service have been deeply shocking, and has caused huge concern for women across Ireland," Mr Kelly said.

A phone helpline for women worried about their cervical screening results opened earlier on Saturday but was delayed for a time due to a technical issue.

Minister Harris acknowledged the problem, tweeting about the technical glitch with the helpline and said it was the last thing anyone needed.

The issue was fixed before 10.30am and the helpline 1800 45 45 55 has been fully operational throughout the day.

The phoneline closed at 6pm and will open again at 9am.

Women who may be concerned about their smear test results are advised to call it.

The helpline had received around 570 calls by 4pm yesterday from women who are concerned about their cervical screening results.

The helpline is one of the actions being taken by the Minister for Health, following apparent failures in the National Cervical Screening programme.

Minister Harris has also said the Government will pay for any smear retests for women concerned about their results.  

The details will be announced next week by the Department of Health.

HSE figures released yesterday showed that in 206 cervical cancer cases, the delay in the cancer being detected following smear tests suggests these women missed out on earlier intervention.

Further concerns were raised when Cervical Check said it could not clarify if all of the women involved had been contacted.

It was decided yesterday that a HSE Serious Incident Management Team (SIMT) would be sent into Cervical Check to ensure that all patients have been informed of the result of any review of their screening history.

The HSE team which has taken charge of the situation at Cervical Check intends to have made contact with all 206 women with cervical cancer, after it was suggested they should have received earlier intervention following a review of their smear tests.

If a woman who has cervical cancer has not heard from this HSE team by early next week, they are not one of the 206 cases.

In a statement, the HSE said clinical personnel across the country are reviewing relevant files relating to the 206 cases over the weekend with a view to providing assurance to the SIMT that all of the women involved have been contacted.

The HSE said it expects the "majority" of this work to be completed by Monday.

It has said if it is found that any women have not been contacted by their treating clinicians at this time, that appropriate arrangements will be put in place to communicate with these women or their families immediately.