Simon Harris says it will allow women to progress their cases in a "timely and sensitive" manner

A tribunal is being set up to deal with claims arising from the CervicalCheck controversy.

The Health Minister has announced details of the inquiry this evening.

This tribunal was one of the recommendations made by a report into the appropriate response to the CervicalCheck scandal.

The aim is that it would be an alternative approach to the courts and the women's claims would be dealt with in a less adversarial manner.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine will chair the tribunal, which will begin its hearings next year in private.

Ms Justice Mary Irvine. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/

Although the tribunal is being established, a woman may still give their evidence in public in the High Court if they wish.

Health Minister Simon Harris acknowledges it will take time to establish - but says the Government's working to progress it as a matter of urgency.

The Minister also confirmed he's examining the establishment of a scheme to provide payments for the 221 women and their families affected by the scandal.

Minister Harris explained: "The Tribunal will allow women to progress their cases in a timely and sensitive, less adversarial manner, while equally respecting the constitutional entitlement of all parties to a fair hearing.

"I want to thank Ms Justice Irvine for taking on this role. I look forward to engaging with her in the new year and progressing with this work as soon as possible."