Yesterday, I heard the experience of one of the 209 women at the centre of the CervicalCheck scandal. About two weeks after the story broke, she got a phone call from her consultant. She was told that she was one of the 209 women whose screening was missed. She met her consultant but could not get any details as to what supports might be available. This morning, for the first time, she was assigned to a local area and she was told that in about two weeks' time, she will be able to sit down with a liaison officer to begin a conversation about the type of supports she might need. It will be two months since this story broke before this woman will even meet someone from the State to talk about what supports she might get in the future. After Cabinet on 11 May, the Taoiseach said
Today the Cabinet agreed a range of actions to provide care and support for all the women affected, and their families. We have also agreed that all outstanding legal actions will be dealt with sensitively utilising mediation wherever possible.
The Minister for Health said "[b]ut what they need is not platitudes, they need actions, and I am determined we are going to deliver those actions."
There was great talk from Government of medical cards, prescriptions, childcare and counselling, but it has not happened. Women are borrowing money to get to healthcare appointments on the other side of the country. They are relying on the good faith of solicitors to take legal advice. One man has been trying, without any success, to get access to his wife's medical records. There has been no central point of contact, no counselling, no multidisciplinary teams put in place and no financial support. One woman involved told me this morning that what there is is fear, anger and confusion. Five weeks on from when this story broke, what supports have been put in place for the 209 women at the centre of this scandal? How many of these women have met with the liaison officer? How many of the promised individual support packages have been put in place? What financial assistance has been put in place and is live on the ground for these women today, five weeks on from when we started talking about it here?