Emma Mhic Mhathúna’s CervicalCheck court action goes to mediation

Kerry mother of five describes six-hour mediation as ‘draining’ as she seeks settlement

Emma Mhic Mhathúna: “They’re playing a very hard game,” she said of the lab involved in the negotiations. File photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Emma Mhic Mhathúna: “They’re playing a very hard game,” she said of the lab involved in the negotiations. File photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

 

Co Kerry woman Emma Mhic Mhathúna, one of those affected by the CervicalCheck controversy, has gone to mediation in her legal action against the US lab that carried out incorrect smear tests, just days before her trial is due to start.

The mother of five, who has terminal cancer, is one of the 209 women who were found to have received incorrect tests during a look-back audit of past tests by the screening programme after their cancer diagnoses.

Ms Mhic Mhathúna (37) said she attended a mediation session for 6½ hours on Sunday as she attempts to settle her High Court action against the HSE and Quest Diagnostics, the US lab.

She and her children took legal proceedings last month claiming that smear tests taken in 2010 and 2013 were misread by the US lab preventing her from availing of earlier medical intervention.

Ms Mhic Mhathúna described the mediation as “draining” and said that “nothing came of it”.

Greater efforts are being made to settle legal claims taken over the CervicalCheck controversy

“They’re playing a very hard game,” she said of the lab involved in the negotiations. “We are dealing with a lot of money because of the five children and I don’t like cutting corners with my children.”

Emotional accounts

The Ballydavid resident, whose emotional accounts of her case made her one of the public faces of the controversy, is due to go to court on Friday.

Her proceedings and those of two other critically ill women, who by direction of the court cannot be identified, were fast-tracked due to their poor health.

Emma Mhic Mhathúna during a demonstration at Leinster House, Dublin, as part of a day of action organised by Standing 4 Women, in solidarity with women affected by the CervicalCheck scandal. File photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Emma Mhic Mhathúna during a demonstration at Leinster House, Dublin, as part of a day of action organised by Standing 4 Women, in solidarity with women affected by the CervicalCheck scandal. File photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Greater efforts are being made to settle legal claims taken over the CervicalCheck controversy. Another terminally woman, a 61-year-old identified in court only as Mrs K, settled last week on confidential terms.

Ciarán Breen, director of the State Claims Agency, which defends the State in legal claims, told the Public Accounts Committee earlier this month it was trying to bring legal cases to mediation as quickly as possible.

The agency was dealing with 28 legal claims over the CervicalCheck tests and was potentially facing another two, and that mediation had been offered in four cases, he said.

Ordeal

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said last month the Government would settle with affected women and take cases against the US labs who carried out their tests to prevent facing the ordeal of a trial.

The cases come to light after terminally ill Limerick woman Vicky Phelan settled her case against another US lab, Clinical Pathology Laboratories in Texas for €2.5 million over a 2011 test that missed her cancer.

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