Tralee re­mem­bers Emma

The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

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

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