In today’s Irish Times, Health Correspondent Paul Cullen has an interview with Limerick mother-of-two Vicky Phelan – one year on from her High Court case where she settled a case against Clinical Pathology Laboratories Inc, Austin, Texas, for €2.5million.
Ms Phelan, who refused to sign a gagging order about her case, was diagnosed with terminal cancer following a cervical smear test error.
Following her case, it later emerged that more than 200 women diagnosed with cancer were not informed of an audit which revised their earlier, negative smear tests.
Mr Cullen reports:
“…Ms Phelan said the Taoiseach ‘just doesn’t get it’ in relation to fixing the problems that have arisen.
‘The classic example is him going on Six One News saying no woman would ever have to go into court, and look what’s happened. That’s still the case and not only that, the tribunal has not yet been established in order for that not to happen.
‘I don’t think he gets it at all. And it’s not just because he’s a gay man, I just don’t think he gets it.’
…’I think we got a lot of promises made at the time, not to shut us up but to “give them what they want quickly and get them off the pages”.
‘Until we have a situation in this country where people are held accountable for what they’ve done, these things are just going to keep happening and there’ll be another scandal,’ she said.”
Meanwhile, during an interview with Miriam O’Callaghan on RTE’s Today with Sean O’Rourke this morning, Ms Phelan apologised for and clarified her ‘gay man’ comment (above).
“I’m critical of the Government in general. I suppose, I think some of what I said was taken out of context and I would like to apologise to the Taoiseach for the comment in today’s article.
“What I said, I was trying to make the point that the issues faced by the women and their families are wide-ranging, they involve input from a wide range of players, from the Department of Health to the HSE, legal profession, the medical profession, and the Attorney General’s office to draft up this legislation.
“And basically any unwillingness or inertia on the part of one player can hold everything up and that is exactly what has happened over the last 12 months.”
Asked specifically what she was trying to say when she made the “gay man” comment, Vicky said:
“This is a women’s issue and it’s always about women, that was the point I was making. It wasn’t anything to do with the Taoiseach being gay, whatsoever. That was totally taken out of context.”
“We’ve seen it on a number of occasions over the last number of years, Miriam, between the different scandals that have happened to women. Bridget McCole, the Hepatitis C scandal…I think we have a very poor record and poor history in this country in dealing with women’s issues.”
Listen back to interview in full here
Behold: the Bugatti Chiron Sport 110 Ans Coupe – an extremely limited edition steel blue version of the 1479bhp, quad-turbo, W16 Chiron Sport, togged out with subtle (and less subtle) hints of the French tricolour, celebrating 110 years of production in the manufacturer’s home country.
Yours for a trifling €2,650,000+.
Behold: the Porsche 911 Speedster concept – a 5.0l, 500bhp, flat-six version of the 911GT3 wrapped in Carrera 4 bodywork with vintage features (like a central fuel cap, two-tone paint and retro mirrors) hearing back to the original 356 convertible.
Wolfe Tone Park, Dublin 1 yesterday – celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of that album.
(Pic: Oisín Kane)
Candles left outside the Carrickmines halting site following the fire last October
A year ago today.
A fire at an unofficial halting site in Glenamuck Road in Carrickmines, Dublin, killed 10 members of the same Traveller family, one of whom was pregnant.
Those who died were: Thomas Connors, 28, his wife Sylvia (nee Lynch), 30, their three children, Jim, 5, Christy 3, and six- month-old Mary; Willy Lynch, 25, his pregnant partner Tara Gilbert, 27, her daughter Jodie, 9, their daughter Kelsey, four; and Jimmy Lynch, 39 – Sylvia and Willy’s brother.
This evening, outside the Dáil, the Irish Traveller Movement with other Traveller organisations will hold a silent vigil in solidarity with the families at 7pm.
Those who wish to attend are asked to bring a candle.
Three Fridays ago.
On RTE’s Late Late Show.
Actor and filmmaker John Connors and Irish Research Council scholar in the Department of Sociology at University of Limerick Sindy Joyce spoke to Ryan Tubridy about their new documentary series on the history of the Traveller community.
Just before the very end of their appearance, Mr Connors raised the Carrickmines fire and – specifically – access to water on the night of the fire.
They had the following exchange:
John Connors: “Ryan, I actually have one important thing I want to say: a message from the Connors’ family – from the Carrickmines tragedy, obviously. They just told me to say that, a year on, they’re in the same position they were in, they’re in a rat-infested dump and they’re surrounded by electric pylons with no accommodation plan and a lot of the family have now gotten sick because of the toxins, a little child is very sick. And they all have lung problems.”
“And just, an important thing they wanted me to point out, on the night of the fire, that the ground was welded up, the fire hydrant was welded up so they couldn’t get to the water. Cause the council had welded it up a couple of weeks before – they wanted me to pass that message on.
Ryan Tubridy: “OK, I don’t know the details.”
Connors: “We’re still looking for justice here but it’s been forgotten about: no one cares about 11 people being murdered by the State, you know?”
Tubridy: “I would hope people do care, a little bit but I don’t want to trivialise that matter by getting into that now.”
Connors: “No, I thought that you were getting ready to go so I said I’d have to get that one in.”
Tubridy: “I appreciate that but I also don’t want to get into a situation whereby we’d be glib about a story that’s profoundly sad and difficult for that family…”
Further to this…
Meanwhile, in a piece recalling the Carrickmines fire in Saturday’s Irish Times, Kitty Holland reported:
Jim Connors [who survived the fire] recalls being woken at about 3.30am by shouting. Two of his sons John and Jim were trying to get into the blazing mobile home. “I looked out. I didn’t know what was going on.”
He had used, over the years, a power hose to clean the site, connected to a hydrant directly outside. However, after complaints, he says the county council cut the water to the hydrant and welded it closed “a few months” before the fire.
The council says a working water hydrant was within 50 metres of the site “which Dublin Fire Brigade used without any impediment” that night.
Until the fire brigade arrived, however, Jim “had just a garden hose that you wouldn’t fill a kettle with”.
Watch back in full here
On King Street South, Dublin.
Dave Williams, of GOAL, tweetz:
A ‘rocket‘ to mark five years of war in Syria. Rockets are killing people there every day; we want to show why Syrians are fleeing their country.
Justice for Magdalenes Research tweetz:
Today marks three years since [Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s] Magdalene apology. Sadly, justice has yet to be done.