'It was a dagger through your heart' – Ryan Tubridy and Bryan Dobson pay tribute to the late Emma Mhic Mhathúna

Late Late Show Ryan Tubridy and Morning Ireland presenter Bryan Dobson paid tribute to the late campaigner Emma Mhic Mhathúna last night.

Ryan, who interviewed Emma Mhic Mhathúna only months after her diagnosis with terminal cervical cancer, told how she was an “important” figure in Irish life and an important part of the national conversation about the cervical cancer scandal.

The 37-year-old mother-of-five died in October from cervical cancer. She was diagnosed in 2016 after receiving two incorrect smear test results.

She was one of 221 women with cervical cancer found to have received incorrect results during a clinical audit of past test results by the CervicalCheck screening programme.

Tubridy said: “We spoke at some length after the show about life and her philosophy and where she saw it all going, and we spoke subsequent to that.”

“She became a national figure and important as part of that conversation about cervical cancer, along with Vicky Phelan and Stephen Teap and others, and that’s why we have to talk about her tonight because it ended so sadly.”

Dobson recalled Emma’s harrowing interview on Morning Ireland last May, one day after she found out that her cancer had returned this year. 

“She was a remarkable young woman, just 37 years old. A mother of five children, the youngest was just three. From about May onwards she gave a series of interviews about her experience following the failure to detect her cervical cancer. She had the smear test, it gave her the all clear, but she wasn’t all clear.”

“She was interviewed on Morning Ireland, my colleague Audrey Carvill spoke to her. It was the day after she got word that her cancer had returned, a devastating piece of news for anybody.”

“It was just a heart wrenching interview. I remember her great fear was that her smallest child I think of three wouldn’t remember his mother, and if you’re a parent, you don’t even need to be a parent, that’s just a dagger through your heart.”

“And yet facing that she spoke out again and again.”

Dobson recounted how after the funeral mas, Emma’s funeral cortege stopped outside the Department of Health and the Dáil.

“Her family said they wanted the cortege to make this journey, to pass Government buildings, and to pass the Dail as well, and you can see there some of the staff or passersby, just applauding and showing their respect to her.”

“What her family said is that they wanted Emma’s tragic situation never to happen to another Irish mother or an Irish woman again.”

“I suppose if we can say that at some point then she will certainly be one of those to whom the credit for that will go.”

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