Monday 20 August 2018

We owe it to Vicky and Irene to make real and vital reforms

The health service failed cervical cancer victims. Now politicians and clinicians must deliver dramatic changes, writes Alan Kelly

MESSAGE: Vicky Phelan. Picture: RollingNews.ie
MESSAGE: Vicky Phelan. Picture: RollingNews.ie

Alan Kelly

I met Vicky Phelan for the first time last Wednesday. I felt like I already knew her. I shed tears during her deeply moving testimony to the Public Accounts Committee that evening. One of the strongest women I've ever met. Later, as I walked her to her taxi to get the 9pm train home to her loving family, I asked if I could hug her. It was a spontaneous thing, I hadn't planned it. She asked me to fight for her and I gave my word that I would.

The cervical cancer crisis that has engulfed our country is a stain on all of us who call ourselves politicians, no matter what stable we come from. Personally, I've gone way beyond the party political aspects of this issue. There'll be another day for that.

I participated in multiple Health and Public Accounts debates on this over the last three weeks. I've studied hundreds of pages of documents provided. I have to believe Leo Varadkar and Simon Harris when they say they didn't know anything about this.

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