Women sacrificed to protect guilty

    Kathleen Funchion: Justice must be done

    Comment and Opinion – By Jimmy Rhatigan

    TO LEAVE a man, woman or child lying seriously injured on a roadside following a hit and run accident is a despicable act, a rotten deed that compounds what could initially have been human error.

    Speeding on and accepting no responsibility for a tragedy is the real crime.

    Having the courage to stay at the scene of an accident, owning up as the driver involved and ringing the emergency services would have been the actions of a man or woman of decency and respect.

    Driving away gives a victim little or no hope. A positive response could possibly have saved a life.

    Those who may have known about the cervical tests in our Cancer Scandal and decided to shove them under the carpet to protect themselves and to Hell or to Connacht with the women who would die or be pushed on to Death Row are exactly the same as cowardly hit and run drivers.

    They `sped from the scene of the crime when they were most needed. They accepted no responsibility for any mistakes, regardless of who made them and they were prepared to sacrifice the lives of others in order to preserve their own precious skins.

    It is perhaps in that vein that our local Sinn Féin TD Kathleen Funchion calls for criminal prosecution for those didn’t do the right thing and instead, by their silence, inflicted agony and death on beloved Irish mothers, sisters, daughters and wives.

    In an interview on Page 8 today, Kathleen insists that the actions of those involved in the Cervical Cancer Scandal should be treated as criminal behaviour.

    To support her opinion she says that if an unfortunate is involved in a traffic accident in which someone dies, then that person may well find him or herself facing charges of manslaughter in a court.

    “Those who knowingly kept vital medical knowledge a secret from those affected to protect themselves and their organization should be treated no differently,” The Reporter was told.

    Sadly, she admits this may not be the case.

    “They will likely face some Committee or Tribunal. Perhaps some difficult questions may be asked but it will probably end with those being questioned riding off into the sunset with bags of money.”

    We believe that Kathleen is right when she says that we must go down the legal route.

    Whether or not that happens we are not so sure but given the anger, hurt and pain of death involved in our latest scandal, it will hopefully not be possible to fudge the issue so as to shelter those who caused the problem rather than to protect and help those who will suffer the ultimate because of any skulduggery and cover up.

    HSE boss, Tony O’Brien, after much persuasion, resigned a few weeks from his retirement date.

    But, it has now emerged that as far back as 2014 our local Fianna Fáil Deputy John McGuinness called on Tony O’Brien to resign but at the time John was slated even by his own Party Leader Micheál Martin as well as by those in other parties.

    The resignation call was issued at a Public Accounts Committee meeting and today Deputy John still believes that he was right and that there is no accountability and nobody is willing to insist on accountability in the HSE.

    He says that, similarly, following trouble in the Department of Justice, there was lots of shouting when two Garda Commissioners bit the dust. But, he argues, nothing has changed. There must always be follow up. He says, leaving things to chance is irresponsible..

    Deputy John insists that women affected by the Cancer Scandal must be helped and sorted out financially, counselling-wise, medical cards and otherwise by our government, thereby protecting the women from the trauma of any legal processes.

    He says our government should then sue the US Company involved in the process, targeting the laboratory that had a cancer screening contract.

    He is also adamant that proper management structures must be put in place in the HSE and says it is appalling that in 2016 when releasing a memo that all people were interested in doing was protecting their own brand, showing no interest in women affected.

    He adds that no matter what way the problem is tackled by government, the only final result can be that nothing like this can ever happen again.

    Have we faith in our politicians to sort this whole sad mess out.

    No is our answer.

    Our great wish is that families who have been tortured and scourged by unscrupulous people get the justice that they truly deserve and that those responsible pay the ultimate price without the cushion of disgustingly generous pension pots.

    There can be one only order of priority.

    Firstly, everything possible must be done to help families who are now in Hell on Earth and then to vigorously chase those who caused this carnage and slipped into glorious anonymity, hiding behind a filthy tactic of confidentiality clauses.

    Any other outcome and we will have failed the women of Ireland, the mothers of our children.

    So what, if those responsible in the HSE come crashing down with sceptre and crown, so what if politicians are thrown onto the sidelines or indeed if our government falls.

    The emphasis must be on empathy and fair play for women who were sacrificed to protect the guilty and on their loved ones who at this stage will fully understand the trauma of sleepless nights as they ponder on what the future holds.

    We are entitled to be angry.

    But it is far more important that we give moral support to grief stricken women, men and children.

    And, regardless of what controversies break in the future we must not let any side issues shove this sick controversy off of our front pages.