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'slap in the face' Woman who helped expose CervicalCheck delays 'hurt' as Freedom award goes to Tony Holohan

'I have fought tirelessly for answers and this is a slap in the face for women affected by #cervicalcheck'

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Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer, Department of Health.

Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer, Department of Health.

Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer, Department of Health.

The woman who helped expose test result delays in the CervicalCheck programme has said she is “hurt and upset” at the decision to award the Freedom of the City of Dublin to Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan. 

Sharon Butler Hughes, from Stepaside, Dublin, tweeted coverage of the CMO receiving the award with the comment: “To say I am hurt and upset at this decision is an understatement”.

She adds: “(I) had a very emotional lengthy call with @hazechu (the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Hazel Chu) last July as to why this shouldn’t happen.

“I have fought tirelessly for answers and this is a slap in the face for women affected by #cervicalcheck.”

Ms Butler Hughes, who was diagnosed with precancerous cells more than a decade ago, went for screening towards the end of 2018.

However, she had to make a series of phone calls to CervicalCheck and the Department of Health between March and June last year when she did not receive her test result.

When it was discovered that an IT glitch at the Quest Chantilly lab in the US was the reason for the delay it led to a review that found that 4,088 women were impacted.

A disagreement later arose between Ms Butler Hughes and the department over the timeline of events and when Health Minister Simon Harris knew of the issue with delayed smear test results.

Ms Butler Hughes then said she felt she had been “left with no choice” but to withdraw her contribution from the MacCraith report into the matter.

on Wednesday, Dr Holohan met with Lord Mayor Hazel Chu at the Mansion House in Dublin to sign the Roll of Honorary Freedom and accept the Freedom of the City.

The CMO received the honour on behalf of all health care workers for their efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dublin City Councillors voted in July last year to propose Dr Holohan for the honour.

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