Emma Mhic Mhathuna and kids to sue over CervicalCheck delays; HSE yet to admit full liability

By Ann O'Loughlin

Kerry mother of five Emma Mhic Mhathuna and her five children have launched a High Court action over alleged delays relating to CervicalCheck smears.

The mother who is dying has along with her five children who range in age from two to 16 years sued the HSE and laboratories.

Emma Mhic Mhathuna leaving the High Court today. Photo: CourtPix.

Her Senior Counsel told the High Court today the mother of five who was in court for the application wants the case settled as soon as possible,

Patrick Treacy SC asked the HSE to make a decision on its stand on liability in the case within the next 24 hours and said the mother who is tragically and seriously ill does not have time.

"She has been told by the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and the Minister for Health that everything will be done and nobody will be forced to got to court and there will be mediation. She wants it settled as quickly as possible," Mr Treacy told the High Court.

Counsel for the HSE Patrick Hanratty SC said it was the first they had heard of being asked to decide on liability in the next 24 hours. He said the HSE realistically could not make a decision on full liability in 24 hours.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross said he did not think you could force a party into that position it was not fair. The court, he said was not the place to make political statements.

Mr Treacy told the court it was a unique case and it involved the mother and her five children. Tragically he said Ms Mhic Mhathúna is seriously ill and he asked that the case is heard in the next few weeks.

He handed in a letter from the woman's GP and said the court would see how seriously ill she is.

However, he said a number of issues had emerged in the case including in relating to another cervical smear of 2010.

He said the case centred on a cervical smear of 2013 but new documents suggested for the first time that there was a 2010 smear as well which would have required Ms Mhic Mhathuna to have a procedure. Counsel said that information was not in documents provided by Cervical Check.

Emma Mhic Mhathuna

Mr Justice Cross adjourning the case until tomorrow for case management said everything will be done at the court's end to facilitate Ms Mhic Mhathuna's case.

Today as well the High Court heard there were no outstanding issues between the sides in relation to two other legal actions involving women suing over alleged delays relating to CervicalCheck smears.

The cases were the first to be listed in the High Court since the CervicalCheck smear controversy arose last month when Limerick woman Vicky Phelan settled her action for €2.5million.

Those cases and another action by a woman who has ovarian cancer relating to previous cancer checks are scheduled to be heard in the |High Court in July.

Outside court today Ms Mhic Mathuna stood by her solicitor Cian O'Carroll who said she would not be add ing to what was already said in court.

Mr O'Carroll said it was a concern that documents had now revealed that there had been an audit of 2010 smears as well as audits of smears in 2011, 2012 and 2013.



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