There’s a lot of false reporting on the cervical cancer scandal. The real scandal here is that widespread testing for cervical cancer didn’t start until 2008 in Ireland, for a test that was around since the 1940s.
The reality is that the cervical pap smear test is not very sensitive nor reproducible, studies have shown the false negative rate can be as high as 50%, so similar to tossing a coin whether the abnormal cells get caught or not. This can be improved with more modern techniques, but the rate of false negatives is still as high as 20%. It’s just not a very reliable test, testing for HPV is far more reliable.
It’s also untrue that the standard in the US is annual pap smear testing, the recommendation is every three years.
I suspect the number of false negative readings in Ireland may be no higher than any other country, but the rate of undetected cervical cancer must historically be much higher, given that screening didn’t start until 2008.