‘Her actions will save lives’: TDs pay tribute to campaigner Laura Brennan

Taoiseach leads Dáil tributes to advocate for HPV vaccine who died of cervical cancer

A  card for the mass of remembrance and celebration of the life of Laura Brennan. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

A card for the mass of remembrance and celebration of the life of Laura Brennan. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has led tributes in the Dáil to HPV vaccination campaigner Laura Brennan, whose funeral service took place in Ennis, Co Clare on Wednesday.

Ms Brennan, who died last week from cervical cancer, worked closely with the health service “to become a powerful advocate for HPV vaccination and, because of her, we were able to increase its uptake again”, the Taoiseach said.

Vaccination rates rose by almost 20 per cent in the last two years to 70 per cent currently.

Ms Brennan was not connected with the more than 220 women affected by the CervicalCheck cancer screening process.

“While she has lost her life, sadly, I believe her actions will save the lives of many people,” he said.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald expressed her party’s sympathy and “our solidarity with Laura’s family and friends as they remember her today”.

Minister for Health Simon Harris following a mass of remembrance and celebration of the life of Laura Brennan. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Minister for Health Simon Harris following a mass of remembrance and celebration of the life of Laura Brennan. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin described Ms Brennan as “an exemplar in public health”.

He expressed his sympathies to Ms Brennan’s parents Bernie and Larry, her brothers Colin, Fergal and Kevin, and to her uncle Tommy who was an Independent member of Clare County Council. “Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam dílis,” he said.

Mr Martin asked the Taoiseach about the status of the legislation to provide for a tribunal into the crisis.

Mr Varadkar said the legislation would be dealt with by the summer recess and he was hopeful that it could be could be completed by June.

“There have been some concerns expressed by the Judiciary about it but we think they can be resolved and we are keen to have that legislation done to give women an alternative to court to have their cases heard,” he said.