President meets Emma Mhic Mhathúna in west Kerry

‘It has made my own journey a little bit easier,’ says mother diagnosed with cervical cancer


The President Michael D Higgins has described his meeting with mother of five Emma Mhic Mhathúna near her home in west Kerry earlier on Wednesday evening as “valuable and wonderful”.

The President, accompanied by his wife Sabina, arrived by helicopter at Gallarus Oratory at around 5pm and were taken by the presidential car to O’Gorman’s guesthouse near Muiríoch, where Ms Mhic Mhathúna and her five children were waiting.

Mr Higgins and his wife met privately with the 37-year old whose condition was missed in the current cervical cancer controversy and who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Ms Mhic Mhathúna told RTÉ news the visit by the President was a comfort to her and her children.

“It just shows you why he’s our President,” she said after the meeting. “He didn’t have to come all the way down here and he did. It has made my own journey a little bit easier and he gave some comfort to my children.

“It’s a moment that the Government will have to recognise. I can’t keep up with the story at the moment but definitely by having the President coming to meet me shows that something somewhere has failed and that it will be addressed.

“He listened to everything I said. He had some very touching words and comforting words for me, especially knowing the road I have ahead. Myself and my two sons sang two Irish songs for them and they really enjoyed that,” she said.

She is expected to speak further about Wednesday’s visit by the President on Radio na Gaeltachta on Thursday morning.

Arriving at the Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney where he addressed the opening of the first Forsa conference, Mr Higgins said the meeting was private.

However, both of them, and everyone involved, regarded it as “very valuable and wonderful”.

Sabina his wife, who was present too, repeated that it was wonderful.