Tag Archives: Simon Harris

From top: Minister for Health Simon Harris; CervicalCheck logo

A private meeting arranged on November 16 and scheduled to be held this afternoon between Minister for Health Simon Harris and members of the 221+ support group for women and families affected by the CervicalCheck scandal was cancelled last night at around 8pm.

In a statement, the minister’s office said:

“The minister wants to offer his sincere apologies for the short notice for and indeed for having to postpone this very important meeting, unavoidable due to the significant time commitment required for the passage of legislation on the Termination of Pregnancy Bill in the Seanad. He is required to be in the Seanad all afternoon and this evening up to 10pm.”

Several women affected spoke to Joe Duffy on RTÉ Radio One’s Liveline this afternoon.

One woman Áine, whose sister Orla is very ill and in hospital with cervical cancer, said this is the second time the minister had cancelled or postponed a meeting with Orla or a relative.

She said the first meeting was scheduled for October 18 but this was also cancelled last minute and no meeting has been arranged since.

Another woman Mairead said when the Scally report was released three months ago, the women were told they would have a meeting with the minister. She said the meeting scheduled for today was the first meeting arranged since then.

Another woman Marie, who also has cervical cancer and who is a HSE nurse, said she’s “absolutely disgusted” over the manner in which the meeting was cancelled and that it’s “diabolical” the way they’ve been treated. She said:

First of all, he told us at 5pm, he was only going to give us one hour and then at five to eight, said it was cancelled.

Marie said the women who were going to attend the meeting had already prepared their questions for the minister and they had already been sent to him.

She said the women were also prepared to meet the minister for just one hour. She also said they would have been prepared to meet Mr Harris in Leinster House if that

would have made things easier for him.

She added:

“My slides have not been released to me. Parts of my body have not been released to me. It’s disgusting the way we’re being treated. I’m livid at this stage.”

Marie, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2016, found out in May 2018, while having a routine smear test, that she was one of the women affected by the CervicalCheck scandal.

She said she was told that two of her smears had been misread in 2011 and 2013 respectively.

Asked if she which lab misread her smears, she said:

I don’t know anything because no information has been released to me and I’m not alone in that.”

Marie added that the minister didn’t want the meeting to be made public, to protect the women’s privacy issues.

She said:

“We kept our part of that deal, and this has happened now. It’s infuriating.”

Another woman said:

“We’re exploited because, as we do want to remain anonymous and maintain our privacy, so we’re an easy target, we’re easy to let down.”

Listen back in full here


The Health Minister Simon Harris has published the Implementation Plan for the recommendations of the Scally Report on the CervicalCheck Screening Programme.

It sets out 126 actions across areas including women’s health, organisation and governance, laboratory services and procurement, open disclosure, cancer registration, other screening programmes and resolution.

Health Minister publishes Implementation Plan for CervicalCheck recommendations (Breakingnews)

Previously: CervicalCheck on Broadsheet

This afternoon.

In the Dáil.

During Leaders’ Questions, which were taken by Fine Gael Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin raised the issue of medicinal cannabis.

Mr Martin said the Health Minister Simon Harris promised two years ago to introduce a “compassionate access scheme” to medicinal cannabis for people in certain circumstances.

He said now, two years later, as there is no such scheme, this represented the “absence of compassion itself” for people who are seeking to access medicinal cannabis legally.

He said “many” are accessing it illegally which presents its own “dangers”.

Mr Martin paid tribute to Cork mum Vera Twomey (top)who had to spend time in the Netherlands, but said there are other families “under stress and strain”.

He said 12 people in Ireland now have a licence to obtain CBT THC – for which they must travel, mainly to the Netherlands.

Mr Martin said he received a letter – which he said “a bit disingenuous towards the end” – from Minister Harris yesterday.

He said the letter suggested the Government has no control over commercial operators and it has no power to compel companies to get involved.

Mr Martin said nobody ever alleged this was the case but said what’s needed is proper engagement with the companies.

He also said, contrary to what the letter said, he knows that there has been engagement with a company/companies and that it would be possible for a company to supply medicinal cannabis in the first quarter of 2019 if “intensive engagement” between the HPRA, the Department of Health and companies took place.

Watch back in full here

Earlier: Cutting Out The ‘Dodgy Guy ON The Corner’

Medicinal cannabis activist Vera twomey (above) and Minister for Health Simon Harris (top)

An open letter to Minister for Health Simon Harris from medicinal cannabis activist Vera Twomey, whose daughter Ava, a sufferer of Dravet Syndrome, secured a licence to use the oil to control her seizures.

Dear Simon,

Hi, it’s Vera here –  Ava Barry’s mum. Just a quick update. Ava’s doing great, bit of an ear infection this week, but she’s rallying again, thank God.

As you know, I’m from a small little village called Aghabullogue [northwest County Cork]-  fierce Fine Geal country, actually you would get a great welcome if you ever decided to pop by.

Anyhow, I just wanted to let you know that down our way ordinary people like us are doing their research and all around the area people are using medical cannabis to heal their bodies and control and cure many serious conditions.

It’s great that people are able to find research and educate themselves on medical cannabis, isn’t it?

It would be of great benefit to all of us if our consultants and doctors were offered the opportunity to learn about medicinal cannabis its benefits and the appropriate dosage, etc. and we could work together for our better health.

I was wondering are you planning on doing anything of real value for us regarding this matter?

Aghabullogue is a fantastic spot you know but it’s very small i’m just pointing that out because there are communities all over the country much bigger than ours where people are using medical cannabis to improve their lives in massive numbers.

Remember I told you on the phone that time that you could do something really great for the people. I wonder were you listening or were you just annoyed to have to talk to that cheeky mare, aka me. well. Ether way you still could. I hope you decide to do so. We would be very proud of you to do so.

I also just wanted to let you know ill be calling in to see you there in the Dail in November with a few friends of mine Hannah Deacon Callie Blackwell and Danielle Davies.

They are great women Simon and help us, if you imagined I was firey, you’re not going to know what hit Dublin when these ladies arrive with the stories of how medical cannabis has saved their children’s lives.

So we hope we will see you there that day for a frank discussion. As they say it’s good to talk.

Seems to me it would be really a great plan to move the debate on medical cannabis back into the dail chambers for us and leglislate so ordinary people can get the medical support they need.

We will look forward to seeing you in November.

Best Regards,


Vera Twomey (Facebook)

Previously: Meeting Leo

This morning.

Government news service Merrion Street tweetz:

The Minister for Housing and Minister for Health are launching the National Implementation Plan for Housing First at St. Agatha’s Court in Dublin this morning.

There you go now.

Earlier: Anne Marie McNally: Out Of Reach

Minister for Health Simon Harris arrives for a cabinet meeting at government buildings, Merrion Street, Dublin 2 this morning.

‘I knew there would be no accountability’ – CervicalCheck victims’ ‘heartbreak’ as damning report details litany of failures (Independent.ie)

Cabinet to discuss Scally Review into CervicalCheck (RTÉ)

Yesterday: “Heartbroken”



This afternoon.

Dublin Castle.

Minister for Health Simon Harris with white-haired Darcy, from the Ambulance Service, and love-lorn Seodin, from  the Dublin Fire Brigade, during the launch of the  ‘National Day to Celebrate Ireland’s Unsung Heroes’ a new national day to recognise frontline and emergency services workers.

Leah Farrell/RollingNews


A group shot with Simon Harris and members of the Emergency Services

Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

The Scholiosis Advocacy Network writes:

Recorded March 6th 2017 – Minister Harris said no child will wait longer than 4 months for scoliosis surgery. 7th Aug 2018 – children continue to wait longer than 4 months for scoliosis surgery. No accountability, no communication to parents and children continue to deteriorate on surgery wait lists.


Scoliosis Advocacy Network (Facebook)

Previously: ‘He Was Listed For Surgery In 2016’

This morning.

Phoenix Park, Dublin

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Miniser for Health Simon Harris and Minister of State for Health Promotion Catherine Byrne (top left) launch the Government’s Healthy Ireland Summer 2018 campaign.

The Healthy Ireland 2018 summer campaign “seeks to encourage people to get out and be active together this summer”.

Doctors say this is especially important for people who take their health advice and tips from the  government.

Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews

Simon Harris attending his first Emergency Department Taskforce Meeting as Minister for Health on May 30, 2016

Minister for Health Simon Harris  at a Together 4 Yes event this morning



This afternoon.

At a meeting of the Oireachtas health committee.

Minister for Health Simon Harris mentions those posters outside his constituency office..

After which, Senator Ronán Mullen asked the minister:

“What I’m asking you is, is there a disconnect between disapproving of the posters and being in favour of the killing of children in that way?”

Mr Harris responded that he “disassociated”himself from the language of Senator Mullen and that he will campaign for a Yes vote.

Earlier: Still Here

Via RTE Politics