The State Claims Agency has confirmed that it has lodged its appeal to a High Court judgement involving Ruth Morrissey, a terminally ill Limerick woman with cervical cancer.

The agency confirmed yesterday that it is to appeal the judgement involving Mrs Morrissey.

Earlier, a spokesperson said the agency was acting on behalf of the Health Service Executive and its appeal was focused on "a number of important legal points that may have significant implications for the State".

He said the appeal does not relate to the High Court decision to award €2.1m in damages to Mrs Morrissey and her husband Paul.

In the case last month, Mr Justice Kevin Cross granted a stay on his final judgement, providing €700,000 was paid immediately to Ms Morrissey.

Ms Morrissey and her husband successfully sued the Health Service Executive and two laboratories - Quest Diagnostics and MedLab Pathology Limited.

Ms Morrissey was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2014 and the High Court case related to cervical smears taken under the CervicalCheck Screening programme in 2009 and 2012.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Sean O’Rourke, Mr O'Carroll said they read about the appeal in the Sunday Business Post yesterday and heard Minister Simon Harris discuss it on RTÉ's The Week in Politics, but neither he nor Ms Morrissey were informed directly.

Mr O'Carroll said there had been talk that the State Claims Agency and the labs involved were considering an appeal.

He said: "MedLab said on the day the judgment came out, in a what you might call a knee-jerk reaction, within an hour or so, that they were appealing. But they subsequently told the court that they were considering that.

"Now, it's six weeks on and it really is a problem because this appeal, if it is going to happen, and I don't necessarily think it has to be for certain, but if it is going to happen it really should be getting on."

Mr Harris said yesterday that he would seek to protect the total award. However, Mr O'Carroll said he thinks the minister is "looking for political cover".

He said: "I'm curious to know why he's distancing himself from this decision, when he's the one who's effectively addressing it on television yesterday before our client was informed.

"He's clearly involved in these decisions."

Mr O'Carroll said the problem he has with the appeal, is that he believes they are making it out to be something that is essential for the future of screening in Ireland.

He said they are making out that the "absolute confidence" test is a problem.

However, he said, through the trial a large number of experts and both labs accepted in their submissions that the absolute confidence test is not only the applicable test in Ireland, but is the test that those laboratories use.

Mr O'Carroll said they were asked to make a written submission during the case, but they declined, adding that he feels that now there was a PR reaction to the judgment.

"The only reaction we have heard from the screening community in Ireland and from the medical profession, has been that this standard is too high, women in Ireland deserve less.

"I haven't heard any woman say, 'do you know what lads? I'm grand with the standards you're using in screening here'. Nor have I heard any of these colleges or branches of the screening service say, 'this is interesting, we should really look at this carefully and see can we do this better'.

"They don't want to do it better, they want the status quo or less."