The Clinical Director of CervicalCheck, Dr Gráinne Flannelly has stood down from her position tonight, in the wake of the controversy over smear test results.

She informed the HSE of her intention to stand aside saying she was sorry that recent events caused distress and worry to women.

Dr Flannelly said she had decided to step aside to allow the Programme to continue its important work.

Dr Flannelly informed the HSE of her intention to stand aside saying:

"I would like this evening to announce that I have taken a decision to stand aside from my role as Clinical Director of CervicalCheck with immediate effect.

I am sorry that recent events caused distress and worry to women. I have decided to step aside to allow the Programme to continue it's important work.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of the doctors, nurses and programme staff of CervicalCheck for their continued hard work and commitment towards delivering a first-class service for the women of Ireland.

It has been a privilege to work with them during the last twelve years.

I will not be making any further comment at this time" she concluded. 

In a statement the HSE said it wished to acknowledge Professor Flannelly and to formally thank her for the enormous dedication, contribution and expert knowledge that she brought to the CervicalCheck Programme over the past 12 years. 

The statement said that during that time she had helped to introduce a programme that has saved the lives of countless women in Ireland through screening and early intervention and who would otherwise have died from cervical cancer.