McGrath: Government still has questions to answer about CervicalCheck scandal

Tony O’Brien could face a motion of no confidence in the Dáil over the smear test controversy

The company added that these screens have been performed through manual examinations of individual slides, without the benefit of computer-based imaging and a separate HPV test, which together comprise the clinical standard in the United States and many other countries for cervical cancer screening.

Meanwhile, John Connaghan has been appointed as interim director-general of the HSE following Tony O'Brien's decision to step down in the wake of the cervical screening controversy.

Minister Harris said he spoke with Mr Connaghan on Friday.

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Mr O'Brien resigned hours after it emerged that an internal HSE briefing note that flagged potential errors in screening tests in 2016 stressed the need for a media strategy to respond to stories of women whose cancer diagnosis was missed.

The Irish health minister, Simon Harris, said at the beginning of May that as many as 1,500 other cervical cancer tests had yet to be independently audited.

The director general's remarks came after Mr Donnelly informed him that it would be in the best interest that he immediately left his position.

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"Tomorrow, the Cabinet meeting will again discuss this matter and the further measures which can be put in place to care for and support the women and families affected".

CervicalCheck, the HSE's national cervical screening programme, revealed earlier this month that an audit showed 208 women diagnosed with cancer should have received earlier intervention.

Mr O'Brien was due to leave his role in August and during yesterday's Oireachtas Health Committee, he rejected calls from Fianna Fáil TD Stephen Donnelly to step down.

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He said outsourcing and quality assurance will form part of the Scally inquiry into the Cervical Check scandal.

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