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'Her children will know she fought so hard to stay in this world' - Vicky


Vicky Phelan. Picture: Fergal Phillips

Vicky Phelan. Picture: Fergal Phillips

Vicky Phelan. Picture: Fergal Phillips

Tributes poured in from around the country for Emma Mhic Mhathúna. The mother of five children was praised for the courage and strength that she showed during the course of her devastating illness.

Health Minister Simon Harris said he was "very sad" to hear of her passing.

"Sadness has come across the entire country. We are so devastated to hear about her passing. My thoughts are with her children," he said.

Mr Harris said that Ms Mhic Mhathúna's bravery was "unbelievable" and that he would work tirelessly to improve the cancer-screening programme.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also extended his condolences to the family and friends of Ms Mhic Mhathúna.

He said: "I extend my heartfelt sympathy to Emma's family and friends and especially her children. Emma did us all a huge service with her advocacy for the HPV vaccine.

"I am determined that something positive should come from this tragedy and it is my objective to virtually eliminate cervical cancer in Ireland."

President Michael D Higgins said he was in awe of Ms Mhic Mhathúna's strength.

He said: "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 Mhathúna's journey as she battled the disease."

Vicky Phelan, whose court case brought the CervicalCheck scandal to light, said she knew things were "bad" but had hoped that medical treatment would give Ms Mhic Mhathúna "more time with her children".

She said on RTÉ Radio One: "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."

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Stephen Teap, whose wife Irene died from cervical cancer, told the Irish Independent that Ms Mhic Mhathúna's children would grow up knowing she loved them more than anything else.

He added: "She made an incredible difference and I know that Emma has left a remarkable legacy that her children will cherish throughout their lives."

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