‘This campaign can’t stop with Emma’s passing’
JULI Malone, a friend of Emma Mhic Mhathúna’s, has said that Ms Mhic Mhathúna’s “tireless and ruthless” pursuit of those who failed her and all affected by the Cervical Check scandal must be carried on into the future.
Mother-of-five Emma Mhic Mhathúna, who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2016 having previously received two incorrect smear results, secured a €7.5m settlement after taking a hard-fought legal action. She had sued the HSE and a US laboratory used by Cervical Check, with the settlement awarded in June.
Ms Malone said she admired Ms Mhic Mhathúna’s tenacity and explained that she came to know her when she was involved in organising a vigil earlier this summer in Baile na nGall for those affected by the scandal. Ms Malone said those “hiding behind the scandal feared her”, and she wants that spirit to live on after Ms Mhathúna’s passing on Sunday.
“She was a spectacular woman,” Ms Malone said. “She led the fight for a new era for the Irish Health System, and she refused to be silenced.
“Her campaign must be carried on and pressure must continue to be applied. Ireland needs to take ownership of its test system; we must have transparency and be able to trust the results.”
Ms Mhic Mhathúna’s funeral cortège in Dublin yesterday passed Leinster House and the Department of Health, to encourage people there to hold a mirror up to the organisations and agencies they preside over.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar ordered for flags at Government buildings to be at half-mast.
Ms Malone was joined by many others in paying tribute to Ms Mhathúna.
Pupils from Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, Coláiste Íde, and Scoil Mhaol Cheadair attended the Mass in solidarity with Ms Mhic Mhathúna’s children, and Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne Principal Éamonn Fitzmaurice described her as a wonderful example to his pupils, and a fearless campaigner for women’s rights.
An Ghaeltacht Coiste na nÓg members also formed a guard of honour as the hearse pulled in to Séipéal na Carraige, as Ms Mhic Mhatúna’s sons James, Mario, and Oisín are involved with the GAA club.
A family statement was also read out to the media following the Mass, and there were many kind words for the people of Ireland who supported Ms Mhic Mhathúna’s campaign.
“She lived an extraordinary life,” the statement read. “To the people of Ireland, who’ve really taken Emma to their hearts: as a family, all we can say is thank you.
“We loved her, we’ll miss her, and I know that on our way and on our travels we’re going to see guards of honour and people who are genuinely moved by Emma. She was 37. She is the mother of five children...she did everything right. And as a family we will remember her in the most fond, fond way.
“Our job from today is to make sure that her five fantastic children are respected, that they grow to be the lovely young adults and adults, eventually, that Emma would have wished for.”