Two more judges have been appointed to the CervicalCheck Tribunal, the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has announced.

The tribunal has been set up for women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy, and it will allow them to have their cases heard without having to go to court.

More than 200 women have been affected by the crisis that saw the misreading of hundreds of cervical smear tests, leading to some women developing terminal cancer.

Ms Justice Ann Power, who is a serving judge of the Court of Appeal, has been appointed as chairperson of the Tribunal.

Mr Justice Tony O'Connor, who is a serving judge of the High Court, has been appointed as an ordinary member of the Tribunal.

The appointments are in addition to the appointment of Mr Justice Brian McGovern.

Mr Justice McGovern is a retired judge of the Court of Appeal and has previously been appointed as an ordinary member of the Tribunal.

Mr Donnelly said that the Tribunal will be established without delay.


Read more: What is the CervicalCheck controversy about?


"The Tribunal will allow women to progress their cases in a sensitive manner. I want to thank all three judges for taking on these roles and look forward to engaging with them," said Mr Donnelly.

The Minister also said the CervicalCheck Steering Committee would be reconvened.

"I intend to appoint an independent chair to that group, as soon as a suitable candidate can be identified. A meeting of the Steering Committee will be convened in the near future," he said.

The appointment of an independent chair to lead the committee has been welcomed by the 221+ Patient Support Group.

The group was set up to help women and families directly affected by failures in the CervicalCheck Screening Programme that came to light following Vicky Phelan's court case in April 2018.

"An independent chair is something we would have wished to see from the outset of the committee," it said in a statement.

"We look forward to the early resumption of its work as the resolution of a number of key issues, including the regime for mandatory disclosure and the sustainable role of patient advocates in healthcare management and governance are still outstanding."

The 221+ Patient Support Group said it will be "interested to hear of progress on the establishment of suitable lab facilities in Ireland to enable a restoration of testing here rather that the continued reliance on outsourcing to overseas labs".

It added: "We will also be raising with him the necessity to look at a support and care regime for those added women who have received a diagnosis of cervical cancer since mid 2018 when the auditing of screening was suspended following the Phelan case."