'Who knew what and when?' - Kilkenny mother whose case shed light on CervicalCheck scandal

Vicky Phelan was reacting to the news that...

Darren Hassett

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Darren Hassett

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darren.hassett@kilkennypeople.ie

Midnight Walk in Mooncoin for Kilkenny native taking  cancer fight to America

Vicky Phelan is orginally from Mooncoin in Kilkenny

Kilkenny native Vicky Phelan - whose case has shone a light on the CervicalCheck scandal - has said she could "never have imagined the magnitude" of the problem after it was revealed that 17 women affected by the controversy have died.

According to reports, at a press conference this afternoon the HSE confirmed that 17 women had died of the 208 not told they may have had a delayed diagnosis and may have benefited from earlier treatment.

Efforts are underway to contact all of the 162 women who were not initially informed their smear tests were reviewed or the outcome of that review.

Vicky was given incorrect test results and is now terminally-ill with cervical cancer and she settled her High Court action against a US laboratory for €2.5m last week.

Vicky, 43, who lives in Annacotty, Limerick, and is originally from Mooncoin was diagnosed with cancer three years after her smear test results of 2011 were incorrectly reported as being clear of any abnormalities.

By the time she had another smear test in 2014 she had cervical cancer.

Speaking on Ray D'Arcy's Radio One show on Monday afternoon the mother-of-two said: "I'm very upset to be honest, to think that there is 17 women, it was bad enough that I knew there was three, I'm quite upset today.

"I could be another one of those women and if I had died I would be on that list. Thankfully I didn't and I'm here to tell the tale. By God am I going to take these guys on, I think it's disgraceful.

"I don't think anyone could have imagined the magnitude of this."

According to independent.ie, she added: "These are real young women with young families... by and large most of these are young women with young families and that's why I'm so upset."

Reacting to the news that there is to be an inquiry into the scandal, Ms Phelan said: "What I don't want to see is - the minute I heard that announcement this morning it raised waning signals with me - what I don't want to see is an inquiry or tribunal that's going to take years and is going to be dragged out.

"Who knew what and when? They are the critical questions that need to be answered."

She also reiterated her hope that the women of Ireland continue to have smear tests done.