The decision will be effective from close of business tomorrow

The Director General of the HSE, Tony O’Brien, has announced he is stepping down from his position effective from close of business tomorrow.

It comes in the wake of the Cervical Check scandal, and opposition calls for the HSE chief to resign.

The news was confirmed in a statement from the HSE this evening.

The executive said: "The Director General (DG) of the HSE, Tony O’Brien, wishes to announce this evening (Thursday 10th May 2018) his intention to step down from his position as DG with effect from close of business tomorrow (Friday 11th May).

"Mr O’Brien said that he has made his decision in order to avoid any further impact to the delivery of health and social care services, and in particular the cancer screening services that have become the focus of intense political debate in recent days."

It adds: "He said, notwithstanding the clear communication failures surrounding the CervicalCheck Audits, he is confident that the Scally Review will demonstrate the quality and value of the CervicalCheck Programme once it is complete."

Minister for Health Simon Harris confirmed he was informed of the decision by Mr O'Brien this evening.

Minister Harris said: “I would like to express my thanks to Tony O’Brien for his many years of dedicated public service. 

"I know that he is standing down from his role today because he believes it is in the best interest of rebuilding public confidence in the wake of the issues which have arisen in CervicalCheck."

The Cabinet will discuss the Cervical Check scandal during a meeting in Dublin tomorrow.