KERRY STANDS WITH EMMA

Out­pour­ing of sup­port for mum-of-five con­demned to death after test blunder

The Kerryman (South Kerry Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By Sinead Kelle­her

TERMINALLY ill mother-of-five Emma Mhic Mhathúna, will fight to the bit­ter end to bring the Govern­ment to ac­count for the suf­fer­ing and pain they have put the women of Ire­land through.

Speak­ing to The Ker­ry­man fol­low­ing a pub­lic protest in Tralee on Mon­day, the West Kerry mother-of-five said that she “is re­fus­ing to die and leave this coun­try in un­safe hands”.

This week Emma was told that her can­cer has spread even fur­ther to her ver­te­bra. But she has vowed to fight for as long as she can to help re­form the health ser­vice.

“I prom­ise my death won’t go un­no­ticed. I will make sure that they pay for what they have done to every sin­gle fam­ily in Ire­land, whether you are on a wait­ing list too long or whether you are not be­ing treated fair.”

“I can’t save my life but at least I can save yours and your chil­dren’s lives,” Emma said.

Emma is to meet Pres­i­dent Hig­gins at her home in Bal­ly­david on Wed­nes­day.

THE shock­ing plight of terminally-ill can­cer pa­tient Emma Mhic Mhathúna brought hun­dreds of women and men to­gether in sol­i­dar­ity with the brave West Kerry wo­man on Mon­day evening.

In a poignant protest in Tralee town cen­tre on Mon­day evening, the very day that she was told that her can­cer has spread even fur­ther to her ver­te­bra, Emma, in a mov­ing and emo­tional speech, said that she would con­tinue to fight for re­form of the health ser­vice.

“I am sick of be­ing treated like noth­ing. Our health is the last thing that th­ese peo­ple care about. The Dáil needs to re­alise that if they are go­ing to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for our lives they bet­ter do it well or they need to be fired,” she told the crowd.

“I prom­ise my death won’t go un­no­ticed. I will make sure that they pay for what they have done to every sin­gle fam­ily in Ire­land, whether you are on a wait­ing list too long or whether you are not be­ing treated fair. Tell them you’re my friend and I’ll come and sort them out.”

“I can’t save my life but at least I can save yours and your chil­dren’s lives”

The mother-of-five, who lives in Baile na nGall (Bal­ly­david), is one of the vic­tims of the Cer­vi­calcheck scan­dal which has rocked the health ser­vice. She is one of the 209 women who was mis­di­ag­nosed after their smear tests re­sults were mis­read.

Emma said that she was ‘touched’ that peo­ple had or­gan­ised the vigil which was led by Cllr Toireasa Fer­ris to show sup­port and sol­i­dar­ity for Emma and all the women of Ire­land who have been af­fected.

“It is un­for­tu­nate that some­one has to die to bring peo­ple to­gether. It is amaz­ing that they trust me to be their voice and bring for­ward re­form. We [women] kick ass when we are to­gether.”

Up to 400 peo­ple – women and dozens of men too – at­tended the sol­i­dar­ity vigil, which in­cluded five min­utes of si­lence for all the vic­tims and, af­ter­wards, many of them hugged Emma and thanked her for her brav­ery.

Emma said that while she had no idea how much longer she has left, she will fight for as long as she can.

“While I still have strength I will keep fight­ing for the cause. I refuse to die and leave this coun­try in un­safe hands.”

A sol­i­dar­ity vigil also took place in West Kerry on Tues­day evening in Bal­ly­david to show sup­port from the lo­cal com­mu­nity where Emma now re­sides.

Emma is also due to meet Pres­i­dent Michael D Hig­gins on Wed­nes­day in pri­vate meet­ing to dis­cuss the cer­vi­cal can­cer scan­dal.

She said that his visit will “bring com­fort to her chil­dren that Mom mat­ters and that she is not just a statis­tic”.

“I am so touched that he is com­ing to meet me to see what I am try­ing to achieve,” she con­tin­ued.

Another protest will also take place out­side Univer­sity Hospi­tal Kerry on Fri­day af­ter­noon to voice women’s out­rage at the scan­dal.

Emma was speak­ing to The Ker­ry­man on Mon­day and said she now needs to con­cen­trate on fu­ture plans for her won­der­ful chil­dren. “I’m be­ing pulled apart from my chil­dren when they need me and I want to try and keep things nor­mal as much as pos­si­ble for them.”

I CAN’T SAVE MY LIFE BUT AT LEAST I CAN SAVE YOURS AND YOUR CHIL­DREN’S LIVES.

Photo By Dom­nick Walsh

Emma Mhic Mhathúna (in­set), a vic­tim of the Cer­vi­calCheck scan­dal, pic­tured in Tralee Town Square where over 400 sup­port­ers stood in si­lence as she spoke. The protest was or­gan­ised by Cllr Toireasa Fer­ris.

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