Irish Cancer Society disappointed at delay to cancer survivors Bill

The Irish Cancer Society has expressed its disappointment that the ‘Right to be Forgotten’ Bill didn’t progress through Second Stage in the Seanad today.

Once enacted, the legislation will mean cancer survivors who have not needed treatment for five years or more are not financially penalised by insurance companies and the banking industry.

Rachel Morrogh, Irish Cancer Society Director of Advocacy, said: “We are disappointed that the legislation did not pass Second Stage today, despite clear cross-party support. Every day that this legislation is delayed is another day cancer survivors are denied access to affordable financial products, hurting them financially.

“This Bill was developed and backed by a cross-party group and similar laws are in place in countries across Europe. But we are concerned that the delays may be because of commercial interests which are being put ahead of the interests of people who have survived cancer. We want the Bill to conclude Second Stage as quickly as possible. There is no reason for this Bill not to progress.

“The legislation was published last month, and states that anyone who was diagnosed with cancer and has not required treatment for a period of five years or more will have the right for their cancer to be ‘forgotten’ when they apply for a financial product. That means they couldn’t be discriminated against or penalised because of that cancer, which they understandably want to leave well behind them and move on with their lives as best they can.

“Survivors of childhood cancer particularly welcomed the publication of the Bill as they face increased premiums and challenges getting financial products despite having left cancer behind them many years ago. Our research has found that alongside cancer survivors, the significant majority of the population would support legislation making it impossible to discriminate against cancer survivors simply because they have survived cancer.

“Any delay is purely in the interest of commercial industries, and the Irish Cancer Society will write to the Minister for Finance and appeal for the interests of cancer survivors to be put first.”