Fianna Fáil’s Spokesperson on Justice, Jim O’Callaghan TD has said remarks made by the Taoiseach relating to the judiciary and delays in the cases of those affected by the CervicalCheck controversy being heard are unmerited.

Deputy O’Callaghan said, “The Courts in this country have repeatedly sought the appointment of more judges to deal with the backlog of very serious cases that are at present in the system.

“Instead of acceding to the request from the judiciary, the Taoiseach has attacked them for their alleged inefficient practices. Everyone recognises that more efficient practices can be introduced into our court system but that cannot overcome the fact that Ireland has a very low rate of judges per capita.

“The primary reason for delays in the justice system is the Government’s refusal to appoint more judges.

“The Taoiseach is aware that his Government established a working group chaired by the President of the High Court to make recommendations for the improvement of the civil justice system. He will also be aware that this group has been preparing a report that is expected to be published in the coming weeks. The Taoiseach’s remarks failed to acknowledge that this work is ongoing.

“They ignored the fact too that the State could have settled cases with the victims of the CervicalCheck scandal and then proceeded to claim against the laboratories separately.

“This action on the part of the State – which the Taoiseach previously indicated would occur – would have saved these women the unnecessary stress of being caught in a legal process that involved the State fighting against laboratories to determine who was liable for the mistakes made.

“The Taoiseach’s criticism of the judiciary is of no surprise. This is a Government that blames the judiciary in order to cover its own failures, and criticises them to suit its own political agenda.”