Dr Gabriel Scally, who lead the Cervicalcheck inquiry, has said the screening programme is good and has produced real results.

He told the Oireachtas Health Committee that the CervicalCheck programme  stands up well internationally.

Dr Scally said that women affected want CervicalCheck to be an excellent programme.

He said that the criticism of CervicalCheck was not about the programme but about how the controversy about the audit was handled.

Dr Scally said that the non-disclosure of the audit damaged the relationship between women and clinicians.

He said that women felt betrayed and had been lied to in some cases.

Dr Scally said he did not believe that the non-disclosure of the audit results affected the clinical outcome for women, as they were already in treatment for cervical cancer.

He said that more information will be learned from the review of around 1,600 slides by a team from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the UK.

Dr Scally's second report published last month found that the number of laboratories to which slides were outsourced was much greater than he had originally be told.

He told the Committee that Minister for Health Simon Harris had asked him to review how his recommendations are being implemented by the Health Service Executive.

Labour health spokesperson Alan Kelly asked how many of the 16 laboratories the CervicalCheck inquiry had visited.

The Committee heard that nine of the 16 laboratories were visited.

Dr Scally said that in relation to the other seven, some of these laboratories no longer exist and others received very small volumes of slides.