Rest in Peace Vicky Phelan: A warrior for Irish women.

Cervical cancer campaigner Vicky Phelan, who unearthed the CervicalCheck scandal, has died.

Ms Phelan passed away in the early hours of this morning at Milford Hospice in Limerick.

The trailblazing academic and mum-of-two uncovered one of the biggest medical and political scandals of our time, and campaigned tirelessly for justice for the 221+ women affected by CervicalCheck scandal. 

Ms Phelan was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2014, three years after undergoing a smear test which showed no abnormalities. An internal CervicalCheck review found that the original result was incorrect, but Vicky was not informed of this fact until 2017. In 2018, she settled a High Court action for €2.5million against US lab Quest Diagnostics over the false negative smear test.

In refusing to sign a non-disclosure agreement in the settlement of her action against the HSE, she unearthed the medical and political scandal of our times.

Since then, Vicky has become women’s voice for justice on the issue, and her system-changing activism has made her a household name.

Vicky Phelan at the 2018 MacGill Summer School in Glenties. North West Newspix

She told her story in a memoir Overcoming in 2019 which became the An Post Book of the Year.

Ms Phelan visited Donegal on several occasions, delivering a talk at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties in 2018 and more recently touring the north west on a bucket list family camping holiday.

Her death comes two weeks after the passing of fellow campaigner Lynsey Bennett, who also took a High Court case over alleged misinterpretation of her cervical smear slides. Ms Bennet passed away on Thursday 27th October aged 34.

Tributes are beginning to pour in for Ms Phelan this morning.

An Taoiseach Michael Martin expressed his condolences and said: ‘I think she was a woman of extraordinary courage and integrity who stood up for the women of Ireland’.

‘To her husband and her family in particular we extend our deepest sympathies.’

Sinn Fein President Mary Lou McDonald said: “Ní Bheidh A Leithéid Ann Arís. Vicky Phelan, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Champion of Women, Campaigner who took on the State and won. Rest in Peace.”