I propose to take Questions Nos. 253 and 309 together.
A pilot cervical screening programme commenced in October 2000 and is available to eligible women resident in Limerick, Clare and north Tipperary. Under the programme, cervical screening is being offered free of charge to 74,000 women in the 25 to 60 age group at five year intervals.
The Health Board Executive commissioned an international expert in cervical screening to examine the feasibility and implications of a national roll out of a cervical screening programme. The examination included an evaluation of the pilot programme, quality assurance, laboratory capacity and organisation and the establishment of national governance arrangements. The expert's report was submitted on the 12 October 2004 and is now being considered by my Department.