Monday 21 May 2018

Varadkar 'crying for himself', not dead mothers and their children - Emma Mhic Mhathuna

Emma Mhic Mhathuna. Photo: Don MacMonagle
Emma Mhic Mhathuna. Photo: Don MacMonagle

Laura Lynott

TERMINALLY ill mother Emma Mhic Mhathúna has accused the Taoiseach of “crying for himself” and not the “mothers, dying or dead” or their children left behind.

The mother-of-five said Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris had “failed” in answering the public emergency following the CervicalCheck scandal and it was now time for them to resign.

Ms Mhic Mhathúna, from Co Kerry, was forced to relinquish her degree in international development at Maynooth University in 2016, when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer after an abnormal smear test in 2013 wasn’t detected.

“I never wanted to be in politics,” Ms Mhic Mhathúna said. “I wanted to be a mother and to be a humanitarian, helping refugees in particular. But I don’t want to die and leave this Government in place for my children and other children.

“Leo Varadkar doesn’t cry for me or the mothers, dying and dead, the children left behind to go through life without their mothers.

“He cries for himself, for his political future. But it’s too late and he needs to accept that. Leo Varadkar failed to answer this crisis.”

She said neither Mr Varadkar nor Mr Harris have contacted her.

“They have failed and I don’t want to die to leave my children in a country with a Government that can’t look after its citizens. 

“They both need to accept it’s over for them and resign,” she added.

On Friday, Mr Varadkar became emotional when asked if he wanted to deliver a public message to Ms Mhic Mhathúna after she spoke publicly about the terminal cancer diagnosis she received last week.

He said there were no words to offer her “comfort at this time,” adding: “She’s 37 years old, roughly my age, could be my sister... She has young children – it could be my nephews...”

However, Ms Mhic Mhathúna said his words were “empty” and the Government had missed an opportunity to “step in quickly and say ‘we are going to help you’, that we’ll take over this situation.

“The only thing our political leaders are concerned about is how they can survive through this but I’m sorry, the damage has been done. If a ship is sinking, women and children get off first and the captain is the last to go down with the ship. But in this instance Leo Varadkar, Simon Harris and Tony O’Brien are the first to get off the ship and they left all the women and children onboard.”

She has made a complaint to gardaí alleging there has been a cover-up of the CervicalCheck scandal. She specifically named Mr O’Brien, former HSE director general, in the complaint.

She also praised the media for keeping the issue in the public eye, saying it had played a public role where the Government had failed.

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