Tralee remembers Emma
THE people of Tralee were to pay tribute to Emma Mhic Mhathúna with a vigil in the Square in Tralee last night (Wednesday).
The mother-of-five passed away at University Hospital Kerry on Sunday, October 7.
One of more than 200 women affected by the Cervical Check scandal, her death comes after two smear tests incorrectly gave her the all-clear earlier this decade.
She was laid to rest yesterday in Maynooth, following her Funeral Mass at St Mary’s Pro Cathedral, Dublin. A Funeral Mass also took place on Wednesday at Séipéal na Carraige in Baile na nGall, where she lived for eight months. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar requested flags at Government buildings to fly at half-mast yesterday; Ms Mhic Mhathúna’s cortège passed Leinster House and the Department of Health. It also passed Áras an Uachtarán, as a mark of gratitude to President Higgins.
“When I met her and her children in May, I was greatly struck by her poise and bravery, in the midst of what was a very difficult time for her family and friends.
“On behalf of the people of Ireland, I send my condolences to her family, friends, the wider community in West Kerry, and to all those who have shared Ms Mhic Mhathuna’s journey as she battled the disease.”
President Michael D Higgins
“Her children will certainly know that she fought so hard to stay in this world and to get as much money as possible for them. At the end of the day, those five children are left without a mother.”
“My kids have gone out to school this morning. That’s what her children should be doing, she should be doing their lunches and giving them a kiss on the head as they go out the door. It’s the small things, they’re the things that matter as a mother.”
Cervical Check victim Vicky Phelan
“I extend my heartfelt sympathy to Emma’s family and friends and especially her children. In her life, Emma did us all a huge service with her advocacy for the HPV vaccine.”
“Despite her own tragic experience, she consistently supported the screening programme and encouraged women to continue engaging with the service.”
“I am determined that something positive should come from this tragedy, and it’s my objective to virtually eliminate cervical cancer in Ireland.”
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
“It was with great sadness that I learned the news of Emma’s passing. I want to offer my deepest sympathies to her relatives and friends and especially to her children whom she adored. I want to recognise the contribution that Emma made to public discourse surrounding our health services and especially Cervical Check Screening. Emma knew there was no hope for herself but she continued to fight for proper health services for those she leaves behind, I hope her legacy will be of a proper screening service for all women.”
Kerry Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris
“It was with profound sadness that I learned of the passing of Emma Mhic Mhathúna. Emma was an inspirational figure who faced adversity with courage and determination.”
“Emma will be remembered with affection and admiration. I express my sincere sympathies to her family and friends and the community in west Kerry which was such a support to her during her illness. May she rest in peace.”
Mayor of Kerry Norma Foley
“She never showed me the sadness. The pain didn’t form part of our conversations. She was completely dedicated to pushing the case for her children.”
“She could see through systems and situations, cut to the point at the heart of it and challenged us who worked with her, for her, constantly, which is difficult, nobody likes being challenged all the time, but ultimately it meant we were able to do a much better job for her.”
“She said herself that figures mean nothing, money means nothing in the grand scheme of things. It is however, an important provision for the future and that’s what she wanted put in place.”
Emma’s Solicitor Cian O’Carroll
“I am very sad to hear of Emma Mhic Mhathúna’s passing. She showed incredible bravery in fighting a terrible disease. My thoughts are with her family especially her five children on this dreadful loss.”
“We must beat this awful cancer through vaccination and screening. We will work to build a programme worthy of women like Emma.”
Health Minister Simon Harris “Ms Mhic Mhathúna showed tremendous bravery in talking to the nation about her cervical cancer diagnosis. Through her honesty she became a hugely influential advocate for women’s health and an inspiration to so many.”
“Ms Mhic Mhathúna’s important efforts in highlighting the HPV vaccine will mean fewer women will have to go through a terrible disease which has taken her life all too soon.”
The late Emma Mhic Mhathúna