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Vicky Phelan
vicky phelan

Private funeral of Vicky Phelan has taken place in Co Clare

Vicky Phelan died in the early hours of Monday morning.

CERVICAL CANCER CAMPAIGNER Vicky Phelan was cremated at a private family ceremony yesterday, following her death last Monday.

Family members said their final goodbyes to the 48-year old mother-of-two at a private cremation held in Shannon, Co Clare, according to a reliable source.

Phelan had advocated for cervical cancer patients, as well as for others with terminal illnesses to be allowed the option to be medically assisted to die with dignity.

Phelan’s obituary, published online today, stated she died “peacefully, at Milford Care Centre, in the presence of her loving family, after a long illness borne with great dignity”.

“Vicky will be sadly missed by her loving family, husband Jim, daughter Amelia, son Darragh, her parents John and Gaby Kelly, her siblings Robbie, Lee, Jonnie and Lyndsey, parents-in-law Jim and Breda Phelan, nephews, nieces, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, other relatives, friends and neighbours.”

The obituary stated that “in accordance with Vicky’s wishes, a private funeral has taken place” and her family requested that any donations would be made in lieu to Milford Care Centre.

The family requested that messages of sympathy be expressed through Cross’s Funeral Home, 2 Lower Gerald Griffin Street, Limerick.

Phelan’s husband and their two children released a statement following her death last Monday that it was “with an immense burden of grief, that earlier today we bade our final farewell to our beloved Vicky”.

“She was the heart and soul of our family unit and her passing will leave a void in all our lives, that at this point seems impossible to fill,” the statement said.

“We cherish the memories of a loving wife, mother, daughter and sister, who’s ability to deal with the struggles of life has inspired not only ourselves, but an entire nation.

“The outpouring of grief and good wishes from far and wide are truly appreciated.”

The family said that following Phelan’s funeral the wider public would be given “an opportunity to pay their respects” at a later date.

The Kilkenny native exposed how she and other women were not informed that cervical cancer smear test results that showed them to be in the clear were inaccurate, and the revised test results discovered in an audit were kept from the women for years.

Phelan settled a High Court action for €2.5 million, without admission of liability, against Clinical Pathology Labs, a US laboratory subcontracted by the CervicalCheck national screening programme to assess the smear test results.

Phelan refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement in the settlement of her case and blew the lid on the scandal.

Her campaigning resulted in the formation of an independent investigation, led by public health expert Dr Gabriel Scally who reported on the controversy in 2018.

The review identified at least 221 women whose smear test results had been misreported.

Phelan founded the 221+ CervicalCheck Patient Support Group which offers help to the victims of the cancer screening scandal.

President Michael D Higgins led the tributes to Phelan on Monday, stating that anyone who had the privilege of meeting her was struck not just by her “powerful inner strength and dignity” but also “with the sense of commitment to the public good and the rights of others with which she campaigned”.

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