‘This cam­paign can’t stop with Emma’s pass­ing’

The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - EMMA 1981-2018 - BY TADHG EVANS

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.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.