Today, it was confirmed that CervicalCheck campaigner Vicky Phelan had tragically passed away at the age of 48, following her battle with cervical cancer.
Vicky was one of Ireland’s most respect activist after she dedicated her self to bring to light the CervicalCheck scandal. Refusing to sign a non-disclosure agreement, after she, and countless others, were given inaccurate results.
As the nation begins to mourn for Vicky, many have been recognising her achievements and remembering her through tributes.
Her close friend Charlie Bird, commemorated the Limerick woman in a heartfelt statement. Writing on Twitter: “My heart is broken just hearing about the passing of Vicky Phelan. Over the past year she gave me great support to keep fighting my terminal illness. This whole country should be in mourning at the passing of this remarkable human being. My heart is broken. My hero is gone.”
President Michael D Higgins also shared his grief upon hearing of Vicky’s passing.
Saying in a statement: “It is with the deepest sense of sadness that people across Ireland and beyond will have heard of the death of Vicky Phelan. All of us who had the privilege of meeting Vicky will have been struck by the powerful inner strength and dignity with which she not only faced her own illness, but with the sense of commitment to the public good and the rights of others with which she campaigned.”
Continuing: “Vicky, in all of this, made an enormous contribution to Irish society. 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.”
Taoiseach Micheál Martin also sent his condolences.
Saying on Twitter: “Very saddened at the passing of Vicky Phelan, a woman of great courage, integrity, honesty & generosity of spirit.”
“She will be long remembered as someone who stood up for the women of Ireland, & globally.”
“Our condolences go to her husband Jim, Amelia & Darragh, friends & family.”
Olympian Ellen Keane took to Instagram to praise Vicky’s achievements, and pay her respects.
Writing: “Thank you for your fight, thank you for your relentlessness, thank you for looking after all of us woman. Thank you Vicky. Rest in peace.”
Broadcaster Louise McSharry also shared a tribute to Vicky. Writing on Twitter: “I have so much respect and admiration for Vicky Phelan’s refusal to go down quietly, and her unbelievably generous advocacy for other women. Thinking of her family and all who loved her. May she rest in peace.”
Virgin Media News correspondent Richard Chambers also remembered Vicky. Writing: “Heartbreaking news. We’ve lost an incredible and courageous campaigner; a champion for the voiceless and someone who refused to accept things as they are. She was a wonderful and funny woman who was always left you feeling better having talked to her.”
While Newstalks’ Frank Greaney recognised her amazing work in exposing the CervicalCheck scandal. Saying: “So sad to hear of the death of Vicky Phelan. After refusing to sign a confidentiality agreement, she was the one who lifted the lid on the CervicalCheck controversy from the steps of the High Court in 2018.”
“She touched so many lives and her bravery undoubtedly saved many too.”
While Ireland AM’s Muireann O’Connell shared similar sentiments, voicing her frustration with the systems that failed Vicky. Saying on Instagram: “All the superlatives have been used about Vicky Phelan and every one was deserved. Yet another person pushed into being a campaigner because of egregious failings in our systems. And if not for Vicky looking at her chart when the doctor was out of the room, how long could it have gone on for.”
“I think we all saw Vicky living so fully with a terminal cancer that we never thought this day would come.”
“We owe so much to her & while we all feel this loss, it’s Vicky’s family and especially her children Amelia & Darragh who are saying goodbye to a woman years before her time. RIP Vicky.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with Vicky’s friends and family during this difficult time. May she rest in peace.