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'I don’t know if we’ll ever recover from losing her’ - husband of CervicalCheck campaigner Ruth Morrissey tells mourners

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The coffin of Ruth Morrissey arrives at Mary Magdalene Church, Monaleen, Limerick for Requiem Mass.   Ms Morrissey passed away on Sunday at Milford Hospice following a long battle with cancer.  Photograph Liam Burke/Press 22

The coffin of Ruth Morrissey arrives at Mary Magdalene Church, Monaleen, Limerick for Requiem Mass. Ms Morrissey passed away on Sunday at Milford Hospice following a long battle with cancer. Photograph Liam Burke/Press 22

Liam Burke Press 22

The coffin of Ruth Morrissey arrives at Mary Magdalene Church, Monaleen, Limerick for Requiem Mass. Ms Morrissey passed away on Sunday at Milford Hospice following a long battle with cancer. Photograph Liam Burke/Press 22

The husband of CervicalCheck campaigner Ruth Morrissey said he doesn’t know if he or his daughter will “ever recover” from losing their wife and mother.

Ms Morrissey, who died on Sunday at the age of 39, was among hundreds of women affected by the controversy around incorrect smear test results.

Close friends and family gathered at Mary Magdalene Church, Monaleen, for her funeral mass.

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Vicky Phelan at Mary Magdalene Church, Monaleen, Limerick for the Requiem Mass of Ruth Morrissey who passed away on Sunday at Milford Hospice following a long battle with cancer.  Photograph Liam Burke/Press 22

Vicky Phelan at Mary Magdalene Church, Monaleen, Limerick for the Requiem Mass of Ruth Morrissey who passed away on Sunday at Milford Hospice following a long battle with cancer. Photograph Liam Burke/Press 22

Liam Burke Press 22

Vicky Phelan at Mary Magdalene Church, Monaleen, Limerick for the Requiem Mass of Ruth Morrissey who passed away on Sunday at Milford Hospice following a long battle with cancer. Photograph Liam Burke/Press 22

Paul Morrissey spoke emotionally at his wife's funeral and recalled meeting her when he was aged 17 and 19 and said that from then on, she was not only his girlfriend, but his best friend.

"From that moment on, it was just the two of us, a team.

“It's no secret that in our relationship, Ruth was the boss and I was quite simply happy with the arrangement, it suited me,” he said in an opening address.

“I knew she was always right. Not only was Ruth stunningly beautiful, with a smile that would light up any room she walked into, she was so caring and loving and well able to give sound advice, whether you wanted to hear it at the time or not."

Their daughter Libby brought up a family photograph to the altar as the mass was told: “Ruth’s biggest accomplishment in life was her family and these memories.”

A bag of jelly sweets was also brought up as she had an “awful sweet tooth” and received about 50 bags of jellies as presents from her family and friends on her birthday on June 29.

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Ruth Morrissey

Ruth Morrissey

Ruth Morrissey

A butterfly was brought up as it was a symbol that she would use to sign off all her text messages, as well as a jar of her “precious” face cream which made her skin “beautiful”.

Paul Morrissey continued: “She was wise beyond years. So intelligent and she was also great fun, very witty and people were drawn to her. I don’t know how I got so lucky when she agreed to become my wife,” he said tearfully.

"She enjoyed any new challenges and was always keen to upskill and learn."

He added that family was very important to his wife.

“Ruth was a natural mother. Spending time together was the most important thing to Ruth. Libby has inherited so many of Ruth's qualities. They had a special bond, Libby made a card for Ruth on Saturday and she signed it, 'Mini Ruth'. That says it all.

"I always knew Ruth was a strong person, but the resilience and bravery she showed every day, whether having treatment or going through court case, or dealing with the pain, never ceased to amaze me.

“She carried it all with great dignity and she still managed to keep her sense of humour,” he said.

“Libby and I are truly heartbroken and devastated and I don't know if we’ll ever recover from losing Ruth," he concluded.

His heartfelt speech to his wife was met with applause from the congregation.

With limits on the number allowed inside, people gathered outside the church for the service. A guard of honour was held outside the church by the 221 Plus CervicalCheck support group.

A rendition of Katy Perry's Roar was played as Mrs Morrissey's woven straw coffin was carried out, with the lyrics "I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter/ Dancing through the fire/ 'Cause I am a champion, and you're gonna hear me roar" sounding throughout the church.

A private cremation ceremony will now follow.

CervicalCheck campaigners Vicky Phelan and Lorraine Walsh, Labour leader Alan Kelly, the President's aide de comme Coronel Stephen Howard and the Taoiseach's aide de camp Comdt Caroline Burke were among the mourners.

Online Editors