Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he is disgusted that some information from the Scally Review into the CervicalCheck controversy was leaked ahead of publication.

Mr Varadkar said this was not a normal story, it was not some kind of scoop, it was a very sensitive issue that affects some women who are very, very ill and some families that are grieving.

He said he was appalled to find out what had happened.

The Scally Review, conducted by Dr Gabriel Scally, has 50 recommendations and is due to be presented to Cabinet tomorrow.

Dr Scally has determined that he has uncovered what needs to be uncovered in the controversy, which affected 221 women and their families.

He said a commission could take years to report on the CervicalCheck controversy.

Dr Scally is also expected to continue work in some key areas after publication of his report tomorrow.

When the review was set up in May, it was envisaged that it would take about six weeks to conclude its work.

Speaking in Donegal, the Taoiseach said that the Government's position is that there should be a commission of inquiry.

He said: "Having said that though, we need to allow people an opportunity to read the Scally report for themselves to understand why he is saying that it may not be necessary or may not be desirable.

"We need to hear from the most important people in this, who are the women affected and their families. And we also have to hear from the opposition as well because this is a matter for the Oireachtas."

The Taoiseach said he hoped that people will take some time to read Dr Scally's report, reflect on it and take it from there.

When asked what he was going to do about the leak, Mr Varadkar said there would be an inquiry into how this aspect of the report was leaked. However, in his experience from previous leak inquiries Mr Varadkar said it rarely identifies the person responsible.

Earlier, Minister for Health Simon Harris described as "extremely regrettable" the leaking of the report. He said he had put a scheme in place to ensure the women would be briefed before the media.

Mr Harris said he would now endeavour to bring the briefing forward if all parties were available.

Mr Harris said there were more than 50 recommendations made in the report, none of which had been reported on this morning.

He said the recommendations were very significant, and some of them were "very exciting in terms of addressing clear deficits in terms of governance, disclosure, audit".

Mr Harris said he did not know who leaked the report, but that he would like to know and will try to find out.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Labour party health spokesman Alan Kelly said it was an "absolute disgrace" that the women and families had to find out through the media.

Mr Kelly said people affected have been badly let down and the Government has some explaining to do.

He said he has been in touch with the chairperson of the Oireachtas Health Committee today and hopes that Dr Scally will be invited before it next week to discuss his findings and recommendations.

He said he believed Dr Scally had "overreached" in forming the view that there was no need for a commission.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said that the leaking of Dr Scally's report was "cynical and cruel".

Speaking at the party's think-in in Dublin, Mr Martin said he wants to know who had a copy of Dr Scally's report. 

"Everything has to be leaked with this Government. It is immaturity or downright cynicism," he said.

Earlier, the party’s health spokesperson described the leaking of the report as a "carefully orchestrated, callous political leak" that put the Government's interests ahead of the women and families involved.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Sean O'Rourke, Stephen Donnelly said it was still his firm view that there should be a commission.

A spokesperson for the Health Service Executive has said that the executive has not received the Scally Review and also has not been briefed on its contents.


Read more:
'Heartbreaking and disappointing' - Women react to news of Scally review
Harris still plans to have CervicalCheck commission