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Sunday 5 February 2023 Dublin: -2°C
Sam Boal/Rolling News Vicky Phelan
# celebration
Vicky Phelan to be celebrated at a service in her native Mooncoin later today
The service remembering the late 48-year-old will also be livestreamed.

FAMILY AND SUPPORTERS of the late Cervical Check campaigner Vicky Phelan are to gather in her native village in Co Kilkenny later today for a celebration of her life.

A ceremony will be held in the Church of the Assumption in Mooncoin at 1pm. The service will also be livestreamed. 

In a statement posted to the Vicky’s Tribe Facebook page during the week, the Phelan and Kelly family said that her funeral was a “very moving and deeply personal gathering” amongst family and friends, but that “goodbyes are never easy”.

For today’s ceremony, her family said music will “feature prominently, with some of her favourite musicians playing a few of her favourite tunes on the day”.

A funeral service was held on Thursday 17th November in Co Clare. 

“Stories were told and tears were shed, but we also shared a smile or two as we remembered the remarkable life of our wonderful Vicky,” the Phelan and Kelly families’ said of her private funeral. 

They thanked the public for “all the good wishes from near and far” since Vicky’s passing, adding: “We too felt the nations’ love and are forever grateful.”

The family said that were mindful of giving all those who loved Phelan an opportunity to pay their respects following her passing.

“Vicky was a friend to many and was keen to ensure that all who wanted had the opportunity to join with us in a celebration of her life & pay their final respects. With this in mind, we invite you to her native Mooncoin, Co Kilkenny on Sunday, November 27th next at 1pm, where we will do our best to honour that wish.”

Advisory for motorists 

Gardaí have issued an advisory to people travelling, noting that traffic approaching from Dublin/Waterford direction will be diverted at Dawn Meats Grannagh toward parking areas within the factory grounds. A park and ride facility will be provided at this location.

Traffic approaching from the Limerick/Clonmel direction will be diverted at the Tower Road junction from the Piltown Bypass towards parking area at Piltown GAA Grounds. A park and ride facility will be provided at this location.

Patrons who chose to park in Mooncoin will be directed towards available parking in a number of locations in the village. More information can be found here.

While Phelan moved to Limerick with her family in later years, she maintained a strong connection with her native place.

Last January, she made an emotional homecoming to Mooncoin to meet with friends and neighbours for the display of a remarkable portrait of the campaigner

Her family have asked that donations be made to Milford Care Hospice in Castletroy in Limerick in lieu of flowers.

Vicky Phelan is survived by her husband Jim, their children Amelia and Daragh, her parents John and Gaby Kelly and her siblings Robbie, Lee, Jonnie and Lyndsey.

She was diagnosed with cervical cancer eight years ago but was given all clear after long and difficult treatment.

However, in 2018 she was informed that an audit carried out by CervicalCheck found that her 2011 smear test had been reported as a false negative.

Within weeks a CT scan revealed the cancer had returned and the diagnosis was terminal.

It was the 48-year-old who sparked a look at the State’s cervical cancer screening programme, CervicalCheck.

At the time, in 2018, it was suffering from a lack of expertise, poor governance, and even poorer communication with the women of Ireland.

Professor of Public Health Gabriel Scally later said that it was “doomed to fail”.

It was due to Phelan’s decision to take a High Court case over her misinterpreted smear tests, and her decision not to sign a non-disclosure agreement as part of the €2.5 million settlement, that we have a cervical cancer screening system now that is fit-for-purpose.

The effects of her actions have continued, with the latest report by Scally coming only in recent days and finding that while progress has been made, more still needs to be done to protect current and future patients.

Vicky Phelan also sparked a discussion on wider issues to do with people’s health: open disclosure, a policy to encourage health professionals to be transparent when things go wrong; the patient being centrally involved in their own healthcare; and the issue of assisted dying.

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