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Cervical cancer campaigner Vicky Phelan has died 

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Tributes have been pouring in this morning (Monday) as the sad news broke that cervical cancer campaigner Vicky Phelan had passed away. 

The Kilkenny native had been very vocal in fighting for the victims affected by the CervicalCheck scandal. She herself was told in 2011 that her smear test was clear of abnormalities only to be later diagnosed with terminal cancer and eventually settled a High Court action for €2.5m.

Always keeping others in the forefront of her mind despite her own illness progressing, she kept campaining for justice and better services for women.

She also posted a loving tribute online to the family of fellow cervical cancer warrior Lynsey Bennett who died just two weeks ago.

"I am very late posting a tribute to @lynseybennettofficial here today because I am not well myself and spent most of the day out at the hospital having a procedure done," she posted.

"That, unfortunately, is the reality of living with late stage cervical cancer as Lynsey would have known only too well these last few months of her very short life, at only 34 years of age. I am thinking today of Lynsey's two beautiful girls, Zoe and Hailee, who are so very young to have their mother taken away from them. I would also like to sympathise with Lynsey's family and friends. I am so very sorry for your loss. Lynsey had an amazing will to live which no doubt kept her alive for as long as she did beyond the 6 month prognosis that she was given."

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President Higgins said that Vicky had "powerful inner strength".

“It is with the deepest sense of sadness that people across Ireland and beyond will have heard of the death of Vicky Phelan," he said.

"All of us who had the privilege of meeting Vicky will have been struck by the powerful inner strength and dignity with which she not only faced her own illness, but with the sense of commitment to the public good and the rights of others with which she campaigned.

"Vicky, in all of this, made an enormous contribution to Irish society. Thanks to her tireless efforts, despite the terrible personal toll she herself had to carry, so many women’s lives have been protected, and will be protected in the future. She will be deeply missed, by all of those who were in awe of her courage, her resilience, offered not only to women but to all of us in Ireland. She will of course be missed above all by those closest to her. May I express my deepest condolences to Vicky’s parents Gaby and John, her husband Jim, her children Amelia and Darragh, and to all of her family and friends.”

Averil Power, CEO, Irish Cancer Society also had some kind words.

“Today it is no small understatement to say we are poorer for the loss of Vicky Phelan, but truly richer as a nation for the contribution she so generously made to Irish life," she said.

“Vicky refused to be silent in the face of great personal challenge and the issues she brought to light changed the course of history for women in Ireland. Without her courage and her determination, others would not have known the truth behind the Cervical Check failings.

“Despite her own experience Vicky was a staunch champion of screening and tirelessly encouraged others to take up the offer when it was their turn. Unselfishly – and true to her trademark sense of fairness and conviction – it is the promotion of screening that is such an important part of Vicky’s legacy, which will go on to save many lives.

“Cervical cancer robbed her of her future and left her coping with severe side effects during her final years. Because of her advocacy, others will never have to go through what she went through.

“On top of her national advocacy, which will leave a lasting impression on Ireland as a country, Vicky was so generous with her time and energy to support others affected by cancer.

“She spoke candidly about her own experience, including the physical and sexual side effects of her cancer and treatment, which was a catalyst for better conversations and supports for women facing similar situations."

In response, she added, the Irish Cancer Society piloted the Women’s Health Initiative, to help women cope with a wide array of symptoms caused by their cancer treatment – including sexual problems, infertility and premature menopause.

"This ground-breaking programme for women was inspired by Vicky’s openness about the implications of her own cancer treatment, which also helped other women to break their silence regarding their own challenges.

“Most of all we will remember Vicky’s good humour, her empathy, her kind-hearted nature and her openness that contributed so much to Irish life and to the cancer community in recent years.

“We owe her a debt of gratitude that we must work tirelessly to repay by ensuring that women’s health is prioritised and promoted. Vicky’s legacy demands nothing less.

“Our thoughts today are with her children, Amelia and Darragh, husband Jim and all her family and friends. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam.”

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Wine, art and lots of catching up at popular fundraiser

By Michelle Crean Spirits were high and the atmosphere electric at this year’s Wine & Art Night which had a huge attendance on Wednesday night. Over 50 exhibitors gathered in […]

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By Michelle Crean

Spirits were high and the atmosphere electric at this year’s Wine & Art Night which had a huge attendance on Wednesday night.

Over 50 exhibitors gathered in the Great Southern Killarney as the Killarney Rotary Club’s fundraising event – which is one of the biggest in the town each year – was back after a COVID break.

During the afternoon the artists and crafters, many who travelled from all over Kerry, Clare, Cork and even Waterford this year, organised their display for the event. Later that evening there were a lot of familiar faces but also some new people who absolutely loved the evening.

There were many wines available to taste as well as cheese and breads at the event which is run in conjunction with Daly’s SuperValu, Killarney and Killarney Brewing Company.

“There was a huge attendance and everybody was in good spirits to be back to normal,” President of Rotary, Rayla Tadjimatova, said.

“Many of the patrons were buying some art as Christmas presents and the members of Rotary were delighted to be kept busy packing these. A portion of all art sales goes to the fundraiser. One local young man, who is only 16, exhibited his beautiful photographs of local scenic areas. There was an auction of donated works of art and a Kerry Jersey. All one hundred percent of the proceeds from this auction goes to the fundraiser.”

Mike Neeson entertained the crowd on arrival and right until the end of the night.

“Mike is a great supporter of our events and we would like to thank him for keeping everybody entertained.”

The Irish Pilgrimage Trust ran the raffle and they had some wonderful hampers and gifts to be won.

Beneficiaries from this year’s event are: Coolick NS, Gaelscoil Faithleann NS, Knockanes NS, Holy Cross Mercy NS, St Francis Special School, Kerry Stars, Killarney Athletic AFC, and Killarney Cougars Basketball Club.

She thanked everybody for attending and everyone for their help organising the event.

Some, she added, had never been before and said they did not know what exactly the night involved but will definitely be back again next time as it was “so enjoyable”.

“We hope the money raised will help the beneficiaries to proceed with projects,” she said.

“We are delighted for Rotary to be able to help these charities, community groups and schools through our fundraising event.”

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Comedy drama ready for the stage

By Michelle Crean Get out your diary and book in these December dates as Dochas Drama Group is ready to take to the stage. What does a hypochondriac, a grumpy […]

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By Michelle Crean

Get out your diary and book in these December dates as Dochas Drama Group is ready to take to the stage.

What does a hypochondriac, a grumpy father and a confused visitor to the dentist, all have in common? You’ll have to come along to the Killarney Avenue Hotel on Monday, December 12, Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 at 8pm to find out.

The popular drama group will present their three new comedies featuring the work of playwrights Brian Bowler, Ger Madden and Mary Quirke.Come along for a night filled with fun and laughter. Just the right beginning to the festive season. Doors open at 7.15pm and tickets are available at the door. All tickets; adults, seniors, students and children are €10. Don’t miss a great night out.

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