Sunday 19 August 2018

'I will not die leaving this country in unsafe hands' - Emma Mhic Mhathuna tells Standing4Women rally

Emma Mhic Mhathuna pictured during the Cervical Check Scandal protest at the Dail
Photo: Steve Humphreys
Emma Mhic Mhathuna pictured during the Cervical Check Scandal protest at the Dail Photo: Steve Humphreys
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

RALLIES have taken place nationwide as women call for the Government to implement supports for the women affected by the CervicalCheck scandal without delay.

The Standing4Women rally outside Leinster House heard from Emma Mhic Mhathuna, whose case was mentioned briefly in the High Court today.

Ms Mhic Mhathuna called on the Government to intervene in her ongoing case by directing the HSE to accept responsibility so she can return home and have fun with her children.

“This is a chance for the Irish Government to stand in in front of us - Braveheart style - and say ‘no more’ to the daughters of Ireland. If you hurt one of them you hurt one of us’,” she said.

“People don’t realise that when you are dying you are the strongest you’ve ever been because you’re fighting for survival,” she said.

“I’m actually not going to die because I will not die leaving this country in unsafe hands,” an emotional Ms Mhic Mhathuna told those gathered.

Carol Murray, who believes she is one of the 209 women affected, also addressed the rally.

Ms Murray, from Middleton Co Cork, said she was notified on May 10 that her first smear in June 2010 was read incorrectly and she was not escalated as she should have been. She was told to return in six months for another smear and she did. At that time she was told again to return in six months but was diagnosed with cancer in the interim.

“I should have been called up to the hospital within a week or two of my first smear and instead I was waiting 12 months,” she told a rally outside the Dáil.

“In that time I was diagnosed with cervical cancer... I was only 26 years old when I was diagnosed. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever gone through, I’ll never forget the first day I was told,” she said.

Emma Mhic Mhathuna pictured during the Cervical Check Scandal protest at the Dail.
Photo: Steve Humphreys
Emma Mhic Mhathuna pictured during the Cervical Check Scandal protest at the Dail. Photo: Steve Humphreys

The young mother who has two sons, aged 11 and 8, is no longer able to have children, which has left “a massive void”.

“I am so lucky to have my two boys but it’s still not fair that the choice was taken away from me.

“Standing here today I count myself lucky that I can stand here and speak there are way too many women who can’t,” she said.

“Every day I do suffer both physically and mentally. I could have a sore throat, I think it’s there or a sore back I think I have a tumour there. It’s mostly a lack of trust in the healthcare system.”

Terminally ill mother-of-five Emma Mhic Mhathúna has been caught up in the CervicalCheck scandal. Photo: Don MacMonagle
Terminally ill mother-of-five Emma Mhic Mhathúna has been caught up in the CervicalCheck scandal. Photo: Don MacMonagle

The rally heard from a number of contributors who called on the Government to introduce mandatory disclosure for doctors as soon as possible.

The promised package of supports for women affected by the CervicalCheck controversy also needs to be rolled out as quickly as possible, the demonstration heard.

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