| 0.6°C Dublin

Cancer scandal victim Emma has left 'memory book' for her children


Emma Mhic Mhathuna (right) compiled a ‘memory book’ for her five children before her death

Emma Mhic Mhathuna (right) compiled a ‘memory book’ for her five children before her death

Emma Mhic Mhathuna (right) compiled a ‘memory book’ for her five children before her death

Cervicalcheck campaigner Emma Mhic Mhathuna's family has revealed details of a special "memory book" she compiled for her five children before her death.

It features photographs, letters, tributes, press cuttings and mementos of her life, especially about how she fearlessly fought for justice once the cervical cancer check scandal emerged.

Press photographers who covered many of the events in Emma's final months are to donate portfolios of pictures for the book.

These will include photographs from her High Court victory in the scandal, her various public appearances in Dublin and Kerry, her meeting with President Michael D Higgins and even the stand-up comedy routine she performed to fulfil a lifelong ambition.

Her aim was for each of her five children, particularly the youngest, to have a detailed account of her campaign for justice for the 221 women affected by the CervicalCheck scandal.

The children, Natasha, Seamus, Mario, Oisin and Donnacha, range in age from three to 16.

"Emma's biggest fear was that her youngest children might not remember her as the years went by," a relative said.

"The book was her idea for something that her children could refer to for the rest of their lives about her and the courageous person she was."

Emma, who lived for the final 18 months of her life in Baile na nGall in the Kerry gaeltacht, was determined her children would have a personal record of her campaign.

She was told incorrectly five years ago that her smear tests had no indicators of cancer.


In May, she agreed a €7.5m settlement with the Health Service Executive (HSE) and US laboratory, Quest Diagnostics, over the incorrect diagnosis that she did not have early signs of cervical cancer.

The results were only discovered on a full review of test samples years later.

In July, Emma revealed that her cancer, which she was first informed about in 2016, had spread to her brain and was terminal. Despite undergoing treatment with revolutionary new immunotherapy drugs, the cancer failed to go into remission and Emma died in University Hospital Kerry on October 7 at the age of 37.

Before her death, Emma had also commissioned five miniature busts of herself as special mementos for each of her five children so that they would have unique momentos of her.

Her daughter, Natasha, took one of the busts to the altar as an offertory gift during her mother's requiem mass in Baile na nGall.

Emma also had a requiem mass in Dublin's Pro-Cathedral, the church she attended as a child while studying at a nearby gaelscoil.