Sombre atmosphere in Limerick as vigil held for Emma Mhic Mhathúna

Nick Rabbitts

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Nick Rabbitts

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nick@limerickleader.ie

Sombre atmosphere in Limerick as vigil held for Emma Mhic Mhathúna

A book of condolences for cervical check victim, the late Emma Mhic Mhathúna (below) was opened

THERE was a sombre atmosphere at Arthur’s Quay Park this Saturday as a victim of the cervical check scandal Emma Mhic Mhathúna was remembered in Limerick.

Despite rainy weather in the city centre, close to 100 people attended a vigil organised in memory of the mother-of-five, whose life was tragically cut short at the age of just 37.

A book of condolences to Emma, who was incorrectly given the cancer all clear, was opened outside Chez Le Fab, while a number of public figures were in attendance including Sinn Fein TD Maurice Quinlivan, plus Senators Paul Gavan and Maria Byrne.

Megan O’Brien, who co-organised the rally, said: “We want to send a message to the government that we want accountability for the mistakes made in the labs time and time again. A programme set up to protect us has failed and we want a programme worthy of the 221 victims and all the women of Ireland.”

Candles were lit in memory of the brave campaigner (pictured), who was laid to rest duiring the week.

Her funeral cortege paused outside Leinster House and Aras an Uachtaráin.

Present there was Mr Quinlivan, who said: “As members we stood there, and i’ll not forget it. Emma’s children were so brave. My thoughts today are with Emma’s family, her children, Natasha, Seamus, Mario, Oisin and Donncha.”

“A truly shocking aspect of this scandal is the revelation that the HSE was more concerned about the potential media fall-out, and their attempts at trying to cover it up, than it was in informing the women involved. It’s hard to come up with the words to describe how appaling these actions were,” he added.

Local Solidarity activist Mary Cahalane, who is originally from Emma’s own area of Ballydavid, said: “Women have been lied to time and time again, the life costing errors, the leaking of the Scally report, and worst of all right now, the government is preparing again – despite what has happened, they are preparing again a tender for contracts to use the same unaccredited US laboratories and affiliates thatr made the mistakes in the first place.”

Mention was also made to Annacotty woman Vicky Phelan, whose move in taking one of these laboratories to the High Court, brought the Cervical Check scandal to national attention.

Candles were lit in memory of Emma Mhic Mhathúna, while local vocalist Emma Langford also played.