Lorraine Walsh of the 221+ support group, campaigning for women and families adversely affected by the CervicalCheck controversy, said its members are so disappointed that they had to walk away from the tribunal.

Yesterday, it emerged that the 221+ group had written to the Minister for Health saying it is withdrawing from any further consultation over the CervicalCheck Tribunal, describing it as a "pointless waste of time".

The letter was signed by members of the group's executive committee, including Vicky Phelan, who is having ongoing treatment for terminal cancer.

In a statement, 221+ said it had written to the Minister for Health to "end exchanges in respect of the CervicalCheck Tribunal and express our utter frustration at the pointless waste of time that has been the past three weeks".

It followed a letter sent to them by Minister Stephen Donnelly in which they said he "acknowledged that it has not been possible to meet the requested adjustments in the working of the tribunal in respect of the statute of limitations or the issue of recurrence".

Speaking today, Ms Walsh said once again the women felt they are not being listened to, and their concerns are being continuously ignored.

She said there were fundamental issues of concern about the tribunal to the women affected.

The first one is if a woman's cancer returns and it is terminal they cannot return to the tribunal. And also, in order for women to apply to the tribunal they have to have already applied to the High Courts to have their case heard.

"Any woman from the original 221 group who hasn't done this is statute barred from the tribunal and it hasn't even started yet. It's just unbelievable," said Ms Walsh.

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Sinn Féin's spokesperson on health, David Cullinane, said it would be "really problematic" if the CervicalCheck Tribunal went ahead without addressing the concerns raised by the 221+ support group.

"What we need to focus on is trying to find solutions," Mr Cullinane told RTÉ News.

"If solutions cannot be found I think it is really problematic that we would have a Tribunal in place that doesn't have the confidence of the women and their families," he said.

"The Tribunal process has to have their [victims] full confidence, and it seems at this point in time that that's not the case," Mr Cullinane said.

He added that it was up to the Minister for Health to find solutions to all of these problems.

Labour Party leader Alan Kelly tweeted: "It is so wrong that it came to this despite commitments given to me repeatedly by Micheál Martin and Stephen Donnelly."

Lorraine Walsh is a founding member of the 221+ CervicalCheck Patient Support Group.

At the age of 34 Ms Walsh was diagnosed with cervical cancer, and found out later that an incorrect reading of her smear test delayed her diagnosis.

The 221+ group takes its name from the original number of women identified as having received incorrect smear test results, and who developed cancer, in a retrospective audit carried out by the HSE in 2018.

The CervicalCheck Tribunal was promised in December 2018, nine months after Vicky Phelan's €2.5m High Court settlement against a US laboratory, which drew attention to the fact that patients had been diagnosed with cancer after receiving false negative smear test results.

The Tribunal was established last month but was paused as a result of concerns raised by the 221+ group, of which Ms Phelan is also a founding member.

Last month, speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Ms Phelan described plans for the tribunal as "not fit for purpose" and a "slap in the face" to the women involved.