Emma Mhic Mhathúna, one of the women at the centre of the cervical cancer controversy, has died at the age of 37.
The mother-of-five passed away in Co. Kerry this morning (Sunday).
Ms Mhic Mhathúna was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2016, after two incorrect cervical smear tests in 2010 and 2013.
In May this year, she settled a €7.5 million settlement with the HSE and the US laboratory, Quest Diagnostics. €1.1m was granted immediately for Ms Mhic Mhathúna to buy a new home and go on a family holiday. The remainder was secured for her children’s future.
Ms Mhic Mhathúna shared the heartbreaking news in July that her terminal cervical cancer, which was already affecting her lungs and spine – had spread to her brain.
She passed away surrounded by family in University Hospital Kerry.
A statement from her family this afternoon reads:
“Emma Mhic Mhathúna, a wonderful mother, daughter and cherished friend passed this morning.
“Emma, who battled her illness with great valour, passed away peacefully in the comfort of her family’s loving embrace in the knowledge that she had helped to shine a light on important issues which affected not just her own life, but lives of many others.
“Emma’s unending and unwavering commitment to her children means that her abiding legacy will be that of a great mother. However, Emma will also be remembered as someone who fought for social justice in an exceptionally selfless way during times of great personal challenge.
“We will miss Emma beyond words, her intellect, her love, her quick wit and infectious smile are irreplaceable to those closest to her in these difficult days. However, we take some comfort in the knowledge that Emma will be long remembered by the thousands of people who have been inspired by her fight for justice, transparency and improved services.
“The details of her funeral will be released when confirmed, until that time we respectfully request that the family and friends be afforded the space and time to make the appropriate arrangements.”
Tributes have been paid honouring the bravery of Ms Mhic Mhathúna
Limerick woman Vicky Phelan, who is also prominent campaigner in the CervicalCheck scandal, said Emma “had a huge impact and in fairness to her she was a formidable woman.”
Speaking on RTÉ Radio One Ms Phelan said: “She did what she had to do for her five kids. Her children will know that she fought to stay in this world.”
Health Minister Simon offered his condolences and said Ms Mhic Mhathúna “showed incredible bravery in fighting a terrible disease.
“Thoughts with her family on this dreadful loss. We must beat this cancer with vaccination and screening. We are determined to build a programme worthy of women like Emma,” said Minister Harris.