Tanáiste vows to address concerns of Cork father

Tanáiste vows to address concerns of Cork father
Stephen and Irene Teap with their two children. Irene Teap died last year after receiving incorrect cervical cancer screening results.

TÁNAISTE Simon Coveney has vowed to address concerns raised by a grief-stricken Cork husband whose wife died of cervical cancer after being given incorrect screening results.

Mr Coveney has promised that accountability will be reached in the ongoing cervical cancer scandal after his neighbour Stephen Teap spoke about the heartbreak of losing his wife Irene to cervical cancer following two false negative smear test results in 2010 and 2013.

However, Mr Coveney has stopped short of supporting a call by Mr Teap for the HSE boss Tony O’Brien to resign.

Mr Coveney said: “Stephen is a neighbour of mine, I went to see him over the weekend. Of course I want to help him, he had an absolutely horrific experience, whereby he has been let down by the HSE and he is now raising two young boys on his own and trying to cope with the knowledge that if he and Irene had known earlier about her early onset of cancer, then perhaps she would be alive today.”

Mr Coveney said he had huge sympathy for Mr Teap.

“It is a really difficult thing for him to manage and he is demanding that we learn lessons from his tragedy so that it doesn’t happen again in the future.

“He is demanding that we do what is necessary to provide reassurance to women that we can trust the screening system in terms of consistency and results and it is my responsibility and the Taoiseach’s responsibility and Simon Harris’s responsibility to respond to those challenges comprehensively and I have given him a commitment that we will do that.

Although Mr Teap said that he wanted to see HSE head Tony O’Brien resign, the Tánaiste said that was not something they were looking at.

“I’m not sure that the focus here should all be on one person. The focus needs to be on establishing the truth and reassuring and protecting women in a way that clearly hasn’t happened in the past,” said Mr Coveney.

Mr Teap released a statement at the weekend, saying: “When I look at my two little boys this week I’m overwhelmed with emotion as all the ‘what ifs?’ come flooding through my mind and I try to come to terms with how different their lives could have been. The reality is their mum is gone forever and this could have been prevented.”

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