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Women asked to wear red at Emma Mhic Mhathúna rally

By Olivia Kelleher

The women of Cork are asked to wear red clothes at a special rally which is being held in the city this Saturday in memory of Emma Mhic Mhathúna who lost her life arising out of failings in the Cervical Check programme.

Nikola Barrett of protest group, Women's Lives Matter, which was set up after the scandal emerged earlier this year says they want to do everything in their power to keep the issue in the public eye.

Ms Barrett, from Glounthaune in Co Cork, said she was outraged that the Budget failed to address health screening particularly given that a service for Emma was being held in Kerry as it was being delivered in the Dáil.

"There doesn't appear to be anything for cancer funding or for screening. Quite clearly that concerns us. We are fighting for a more advanced screening programme and obviously we are very disappointed. The actions of politicians don't match their words. "

The Woman's Lives Matter Facebook page has been inundated with messages since the death of Emma. Nikola says the deep feeling and anger people have on behalf of women like Emma, Vicky Phelan and the late Irene Teap and Julie Dingivan is not going to disappear.

"People requested that we have some sort of protest to keep it in the public domain. The response we got on our page on Sunday night was just unbelievable.

[quote]We are just so emotional. It is devastating to think that Emma's death was so untimely and so unnecessary.[/quote]

"People have asked us to hold a protest in her memory and to get our feet on the street to highlight what is not acceptable re this atrocious scandal."

The cancer-screening controversy emerged in April when terminally-ill Limerick woman Vicky Phelan settled for €2.5 million her court action against a US laboratory which the CervicalCheck screening service had subcontracted to read smear tests.


Ms Phelan received a false negative result in her 2011 smear test and later discovered she had cancer. It later emerged that test results were misread in over 200 other cases. She is fighting for her life.

Meanwhile, the funeral of Emma Mhic Mhathúna will pass by Leinster House, Government Buildings and the Department of Health today.

She will be laid to rest in Co Kildare following a requiem mass at St Mary's Pro Cathedral in Dublin.

The Women's Lives Matter rally will take place this Saturday at 3pm from Bishop Lucey Park in Cork city. The group say that Emma was a "warrior in the face of adversity while looking death in the face."