Provost Linda Doyle has paid tribute to cervical cancer campaigner Vicky Phelan, describing her as “courageous and inspiring”.
“She fought until the end to help other women,” the Provost said in a statement on Twitter, “Our thoughts are with her family at this very sad time.”
Phelan passed away yesterday morning at Milford hospice in County Limerick after 5 years of campaigning.
Phelan became an activist for women’s health in 2018 when she discovered she received a false negative cervical cancer result in 2011. Phelan was officially diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2014, and was told in 2018 she had less than a year to live.
Phelan campaigned for retribution for the 208 women and families who received false negative cervical cancer results due to the HSE outsourcing screenings to unapproved laboratories in the US and the UK.
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris also paid tribute to Phelan: “Vicky Phelan made our country a better place. Everyone who came into contact with her was the better for it.”
“Her advocacy and determination brought about change. Her kindness & decency brightened lives.”
President Michael D. Higgins led tributes to Phelan yesterday: “Thanks to her tireless efforts, despite the terrible personal toll she herself had to carry, so many women’s lives have been protected, and will be protected in the future.”
“She will be deeply missed, by all of those who were in awe of her courage, her resilience, offered not only to women but to all of us in Ireland.”
Cervical check support group 221 Plus also said in a statement yesterday: “Today we have lost our biggest big sister.”
“We are shattered. She told us this day would come but she fought so hard and so well that we couldn’t let ourselves think it would happen.”
“Vicky raised her voice in 2018 because she wanted those in power, those with responsibility to learn from their mistakes.”