STILL SEEKING ANSWERS Dee Feehan’s extended family are pictured with Tara Bleeks, Louise Swift and Marian Deasy at the Standing4Women demonstration in Westport. Pic: Alison Laredo
Large turnout at third Mayo rally as Feehan family still seek answers
LAST Saturday afternoon, nationwide demonstrations took place against the Cervical Check scandal organised by the Standing4Women campaign, a grassroots movement that has now become a nationwide point of contact and a place of support for many of the women directly affected and the family members of the women who have passed away.
The Mayo demonstration took place in Westport on the Fairgreen. Three women from Mayo who have been affected by the scandal were in attendance as was Shay McGreal, the Westport man who is still awaiting a call back from the Cervical Check help line two months after he made an enquiry in relation to his late partner, Dee Feehan who passed away in December 2017 from cervical cancer.
Tara Bleeks, regional organiser for the Standing4Women campaign, said the intense suffering of Shay McGreal and the Feehan family was plain to see at Saturday’s demonstration.
“The level of injustice that Shay McGreal, and the family of Dee Feehan are experiencing increases as the weeks go on. Shay has tried every avenue available to him to get information about Dee’s smear test results and has only been met with a wall of silence. It is shameful that in 2018 we still live in an Ireland that practises deceit instead of honesty, cover-ups instead of transparency and indifference instead of compassion.”
Ms Bleeks said two Castlebar women bravely addressed Saturday’s rally to tell their story.
“Marian Deasy and Louise Swift’s stories were truly heartbreaking for everyone in attendance. Both Marian and Louise were so brave to share their stories about the affects of cervical cancer and the realisation of the subsequent cover up of the audit of their smear results. Marian Deasy, who tragically lost her beloved son Lorcan in January of this year, showed true courage speaking out during her darkest times and Louise Swift, who went public for the first time on Saturday, spoke with intense emotion and humanity.”
The Standing4Women campaign is calling on the government to implement the patient safety bill immediately, which will make open disclosure to patients of serious incidents in the health service mandatory.
Currently the government claim there are now 221 women affected by their decision to outsource cervical smear screening to US labs in order to cut costs. Eighteen women have already died, at least seven more are terminally ill, and only last week Leo Varadkar admitted that the independent physical review of 3,000 cervical smear slides has not even begun. It was claimed that this would be completed by May of this year. Ms Bleeks also called for cross party support and intervention in Mayo to help these women and for Shay McGreal and the family of Dee Feehan in their fight for answers.