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Image / Editorial

‘She fought fiercely to stay alive’: CervicalCheck campaigner Ruth Morrissey has died


By Jennifer McShane
19th Jul 2020
‘She fought fiercely to stay alive’: CervicalCheck campaigner Ruth Morrissey has died

Tributes are being paid to CervicalCheck campaigner Ruth Morrissey who passed away at just 39 


Ruth, who was from Limerick, passed away this weekend after a prolonged battle with cancer.

She sued the HSE and two laboratories over the misreading of her cervical smear test results, and through a statement issued solicitor Cian O’Carroll on behalf of her husband Paul, she “achieved so much in her life and chief among those accomplishments is the love she and Paul shared and the wonderful daughter they brought into this world and raised with love.”

“Ruth had a sparkle to her smile, her wit and her intelligence. That sparkle made her wonderful company and her friendship was a gift she gave generously to anyone who knew her,” the statement read.

“Ruth’s life was a very happy one and none of the hardships of recent years robbed her of her good cheer and positive spirit. She fought fiercely to stay alive for the family she adored”

He also said “neither the HSE nor the State ever apologised” to his wife for the “magnitude of harm caused by avoidable errors.”

“Despite the magnitude of the harm caused to her by avoidable errors, despite the broken promise of a Taoiseach who said no other woman would have to go to trial, despite using Ruth as a test case through the final years and months of her life, neither the HSE nor the State has ever apologised to her, and now it is too late.”

“The example she set stands as an enduring inspiration of strength and determination that should help many others through difficult times in the future.”

Paying tribute

Fellow CervicalCheck campaigner Vicky Phelan was among the many who are paying tribute to Ruth for her inspirational efforts on behalf of the women of Ireland.

“Ruth was one of the strongest women I know, and also one of the most positive. I never once saw her without a smile on her face and I saw her when she was very ill. My thoughts today are with Ruth’s husband, Paul and their beautiful daughter, Libby who Ruth adored,” said Phelan on Twitter.

The Irish Cancer Society also paid tribute to Ruth as a fearless campaigner, even in the face of her own illness.

“Our thoughts and condolences are with Ruth Morrissey’s husband and daughter following her untimely passing. Ruth was a fearless and inspirational campaigner for Irish women even in the face of her own illness,” they said.

Our thoughts are with Ruth’s family and friends at this sad time.


Read more: We repealed the eighth: here’s what’s next for women’s health in Ireland

Read more: Why your smear test is nothing to be nervous about

Read more: Laura Brennan’s heroic documentary is a must-watch this weekend