Consent must be secured from each of the 3,000 women before an independent review of their cervical screening slide can be completed by a clinical team in Britain, the Public Accounts Committee has heard.

Committee chairperson Sean Fleming said that the issue should have been addressed in the terms of reference for the clinical review and as a result this may delay the process.

"To get consent from thousands of people is going to add months to the process", Mr Fleming said.

Last week, the Department of Health said that the review is expected to take four to six months.

Originally, the Government had indicated that it might be completed by the end of May.

Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy said that people should have their information protected and data protection legislation was there for a reason but it may have the potential at times to work against the common good.

The PAC has decided to write to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to ask that the data protection matter be considered and also that it may also add to the cost of the review of slides.

Director of the State Claims Agency Ciaran Breen said that 40 legal cases remain in relation to CervicalCheck.

He said that the laboratories involved have been very cooperative and cases are being mediated and settlements being arrived at.

Ciaran Breen told the PAC that 40 legal cases remain in relation to CervicalCheck

He told the PAC that of the 40 claims to date relating to the screening service, three have been settled, 35 are active and there are two potential claims.

He said that managing these cases often requires exceptional levels of sensitivity, to ensure that the agency carries out its statutory role, in a manner that recognises the distress and trauma that has been suffered by people who make claims.

The PAC heard that the State Claims Agency walks a fine line, in getting that balance right, in circumstances that are often very difficult and it tries to do that as sensitively as possible.

Labour TD Alan Kelly asked the State Claims Agency about a case he has been made aware of, where the solicitor for the family of a woman who has died has been refused access to files, despite making a Freedom of Information request.

Mr Kelly said the woman was one of the 221 women directly affected.

He told Mr Breen that the agency had a moral duty to provide the material to the family and should not hide behind some technicality of Freedom of Information or other legislation.

Mr Kelly also said it went against the statements made by the Taoiseach on full cooperation by State agencies.

Mr Breen said he did not know about the case and did not have the details, and asked Mr Kelly to provide him with these so he could look into it.

He said there were certain caveats to the release of material.

Mr Kelly said it was wrong and disgraceful and the material should be released to the family within 24 hours.

The State Claims Agency has said it will release the record sought in the case.

Mr Breen said the agency does not have any files or records relating to the woman's cervical cancer or screening.

He also said that the single record does not relate to CervicalCheck and related to a trivial incident.

Magahy appointed to lead Sláintecare reforms

Elsewhere, Laura Magahy has been appointed by the Government to lead the Sláintecare health reforms.

The all-party Oireachtas Committee report was published over a year ago and sets out a ten-year plan.

Ms Magahy, who will be the Executive Director of the Slainetcare programme, was previously involved in the TempleBar renewal, the development of the Mater Hospital and the new dedicated Cystic Fibrosis Unit at St Vincent's University Hospital.

Dr Tom Keane, who led the cancer reforms, has been appointed as chairperson of the Slaintecare Advisory Council.

Róisín Shortall, TD, co-leader of the Social Democrats and chair of the committee which produced the Sláintecare report, said Ms Magahy is the managing director of a private sector company and has a commercial relationship with the HSE.

She said the company was paid an estimated €2.2 m in 2016 by the HSE for consultancy and support services.

Ms Shortall called on the Government to clarify how these commercial interests can be reconciled with Ms Magahy's new role with Sláintecare and what her relationship with her company M.CO Projects will be.