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Tuesday 25 June 2019

President Michael D Higgins meets terminally-ill Emma Mhic Mhathúna in her Kerry home

President Higgins waves from his car as he arrives in Kerry and (r) Emma Mhic Mhathúna outside her Kerry home
President Higgins waves from his car as he arrives in Kerry and (r) Emma Mhic Mhathúna outside her Kerry home

Sean Nolan

President Michael D Higgins has met with Emma Mhic Mhathúna, the mother-of-five who was diagnosed with terminal cervical cancer after an abnormal smear test in 2013 wasn’t detected.

President Higgins travelled to Ms Mhic Mhathúna's home in west Kerry this evening with his wife Sabine for the meeting.

President Higgins had said he would visit Ms Mhic Mhathúna after she had called on him as 'the only person who could do something' with regard dealing with the cervical cancer scandal in an interview last week.

Last night she admitted to feeling “nervous” ahead of the meeting as she wanted to make a good impression in the hour-long meeting.

However it all went well and she said meeting the President was “wonderful”.

“I have faith from this moment forwards that CervicalCheck will be reviewed and changes will be made,” she said.

Ms Mhic Mhathúna had requested a meeting with Mr Higgins after becoming frustrated at the lack of action on the scandal form Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and his Government.

“The story just gets more outrageous by the minute. People are working overtime to keep the public informed. It’s so dark and secretive what’s going on and nobody was prepared for this,” she said.

“You can see it’s starting to come out, bit by bit. It is starting to fall apart.

“I can only do so much. I’ve done the best I can, there is nothing else I can do. It’s up to the people who we give the power to to pull the whole thing down,” she added

Meanwhile President Higgins last night described his meeting with Ms Mhic Mhathúna and her family as “valuable and wonderful”.

Ms Mhic Mhathúna was told in 2013 that her smear test was normal. However three years later in 2016, following a routine smear test, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer.

A HSE audit of her 2013 result showed that the first indications of cancer were already there.

Last week her doctor broke the news to her that her cancer had returned and this time it is terminal.

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