Update: President Michael D Higgins to meet with terminally-ill Emma Mhic Mhathúna

Update - 6.15pm: President Michael D Higgins is set to intervene in the cervical cancer tests scandal, saying he will meet with Emma Mhic Mhathúna after her heart-breaking news she has terminal cancer, writes the Irish Examiner's Fiachra Ó Cionnaith.

Speaking in Florence, Italy, today Mr Higgins said he is deeply saddened by what has happened and wants to offer whatever support he can to those who are affected.

"It's just a tragic, tragic, awful reality that she's facing and of course there are others too who are carrying the burden of an auditing system that has failed out citizens," the president said.

The unprecedented intervention came after Ms Mhic Mhathúna asked Mr Higgins to intervene in the scandal amid claims the Government and the HSE is failing to act on the issue.

In a heart-breaking interview on RTE Radio's Morning Ireland programme, the Kerry mother said she has terminal cancer and will be told how long she has left to live on Friday.

Update - 2.40pm: The mother of five caught up in the CervicalCheck scandal has explained how she had to tell her young children that she was dying.

In an interview today on An Saol ó Dheas on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, Emma Mhic Mhathúna, has made an appeal to President Michael D Higgins.

She also said some of the most senior politicians in the country were like Teletubbies.

Emma explained to Helen Ní Shé how she had to sit down with her children to tell them she was dying yesterday. Emma is raising her children on her own as a single mum.

She said: “I sat down and told them I was dying ... Oisín, he’s six years of age, he asked if I’d be coming back, don’t go anywhere Mammy, do you not love me? He doesn’t understand.”

“I had to ask them the awful question – do you want to be kept together ... I have a very hard job now because I have five children and my father lives in England.

It’s hard to find a good family for one child, but for five ...

“This morning, Donncha was on one side of me in the bed and Oisín was on the other, they fight over who can be beside Mammy in the morning... who will be able to take my place when I’m gone?

"You can’t put a price on (the importance of) my job.”

In the interview on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, Emma appealed to the President to take a stand on the matter.

“And I’d like to say to the President, if he’s listening, think about the women in your family, and ask yourself, if someone gave one of them cancer unnecessarily, what would you do?

"It’s unbelievable. Women of Ireland are dying, they are the daughters and mothers of this country.

"I have five children, Vicky Phelan has two ... how many children will be without mothers after this scandal?”

Emma also said that she had no confidence in politicians.

“It has really upset me, because they’re all standing back and they know somebody has to take responsibility for killing the women of Ireland... I’m very angry about it.”

“The English for our national anthem Amhrán na bhFiann is The Soldiers’ Song, but there’s no soldiers looking after us here.

"They’re like Teletubbies. I have a new name for the Taoiseach, Tony and Simon – Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po, because they haven’t a clue what they’re doing.”

10.07am: 'My children are going to be without me' - Mother reveals heartbreak after terminal cancer diagnosis

A mother-of-five who has been told she is going to die because of cancer has said she is not sure if her youngest child will even remember her.

Emma Mhic Mhathúna is one of the at least 209 women whose smear tests were incorrectly read, and subsequently went on to develop cervical cancer, despite having religiously attended CervicalCheck, the national screening programme.

She found out she was in that cohort last Sunday following a call from her doctor in Dublin where she had initially been treated after being diagnosed with stage 2B cervical cancer in 2016.

Ms Mhic Mhathúna said that, as a mother, telling her young family of her terminal diagnosis was the hardest thing she has ever done.

Ms Mhic Mhathúna had told the Irish Examiner: “The doctor told me that the smear results I got in 2013 were wrong … the first indications of cancer, the cells changing in the body, were there.

“If I had got the right results at that time, I wouldn’t be where I am now … I had a kidney infection in January, I have a lung infection now. My life … well I’m not too worried about my life, but the kids are very very young.”

She told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today that it was her job to protect her children from bad news.

This morning she said: "This is what makes it so heartbreaking. I'm dying when I don't need to die ... This isn't fair.

My children are going to be without me and I'm going to be without them.

“And I tried to do everything right and I don't even know if my little baby is going to remember me."

Ms Mhic Mhathúna, who had "such a good day" celebrating her child's confirmation on Tuesday, explained that she was meant to collect her results on the same day, but decided against it.

The Co Kerry resident was central to the HSE promotional video “I’m relieved that she is protected” for the HPV vaccine last year.

She was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2016 and was told it had spread to her bones.


More on this topic

‘Minister should have factored in Jade Goody effect before offering free smears’

Tánaiste: Introduction of HPV testing not being 'long-fingered'

Smear backlog delays HPV testing

Taoiseach acknowledges 'enormous anxiety' of women waiting for cervical cancer test results

More in this Section

Schoolchildren protesting in Belfast over climate change warn time for action is running out

Taoiseach: Anyone hoping EU Brexit solidarity will falter in for nasty surprise

'We don't have enough funds to support them' - Irish Cancer Society can't afford life-saving research

'Love triangle' trial: Court hears how parts of concrete slab fell into tank where victim's body lay


Lifestyle

HIIT found to be ‘better for weight loss’ – here are 4 hybrid classes you need to try

TV presenter Liz Bonnin on how shopping sustainably can help take care of the planet

Irish gin is growing in popularity – 4 great distilleries to visit

Love in the air for Post Malone's Valentine's show

More From The Irish Examiner