I propose to take Questions Nos. 806, 807 and 809 together.
The Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018 was signed into law on 20 December 2018 and commenced on 1 January 2019. Under section 7 of the Act, a review of the operation of the Act must be initiated within three years of the commencement of the Act, i.e., before January 2022.
As I have stated previously, the review will comprise a three-part approach to appraise the operation of the Act, with strands focusing on service users, service providers and a public consultation. Independent research commissioned to inform the service user and service provider strands will form key elements of the review.
As I stated during my appearance before the Joint Committee on Health on 8 December, it was my intention to appoint an independent Chair to lead the second phase of the review of the operation of the Health (Regulation of Termination of Pregnancy) Act 2018.
As the costs involved in contracting an independent Chair to conduct the review were estimated as exceeding €25,000, the advice I received was that the Department was obliged under procurement rules to tender for the appointment.
Given the expertise required for the position, a small number of candidates, identified as having suitable experience, were contacted and invited to tender for the role of independent Chair.
Following the tender process, I have now appointed Ms Marie O'Shea B.L. as the independent Chair for the second phase of the review. Ms O’Shea has legal expertise, as well as experience in project management and in healthcare sector research. I look forward to receiving the Chair's final report, incorporating her conclusions and any recommendations, in due course.