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CervicalCheck campaigner Ruth Morrissey dies aged 39

The Co Limerick mother was awarded 2.1 million euro in damages over incorrect smear test results.

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Ruth Morrissey has died aged 39 (PA)

Ruth Morrissey has died aged 39 (PA)

Ruth Morrissey has died aged 39 (PA)

Tributes have been paid to prominent CervicalCheck campaigner Ruth Morrissey who has died at the age of 39.

Mrs Morrissey was among hundreds of women impacted by the controversy around incorrect smear test results.

The issue affecting the CervicalCheck national screening programme saw women receive all clear smear results when in fact a different result warning of cancer should have been flagged.

Mrs Morrissey, from Monaleen in Co Limerick, was initially diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2014.

She was not told until 2018 that two smear tests she had undergone through the screening programme in 2009 and 2012 were reported incorrectly.

She sued the Health Service Executive (HSE) and two laboratories and was awarded 2.1 million euro in damages at Dublin’s High Court.

The President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, led the tributes.

“So many people across Ireland will have learned with great sadness of the passing of Ruth Morrissey,” he said.

“Ruth Morrissey’s tremendous courage in an arduous campaign for truth and justice leaves a legacy of courage for all Irish people, and for those campaigning for women’s right to healthcare in particular.

“Sabina and I send our sincere condolences to her husband Paul, their daughter, her family and friends, and to all those who have shared Mrs Morrissey’s journey.”

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Ruth Morrissey and husband Paul outside Dublin’s High Court in 2019 (Michelle Devane/PA)

Ruth Morrissey and husband Paul outside Dublin’s High Court in 2019 (Michelle Devane/PA)

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Ruth Morrissey and husband Paul outside Dublin’s High Court in 2019 (Michelle Devane/PA)

Taoiseach Micheal Martin said he was deeply saddened by her death.

“Ruth was a brave, courageous woman who worked tirelessly for others and for future generations of women in this country,” he said.

“She was generous of spirit and had the interests of others at heart.

“I wish to extend my sympathies to her husband Paul, her daughter Libby, her family and friends.

“May she rest in peace.”

Fellow campaigner Vicky Phelan, whose case first brought the controversy to light, paid tribute.

“Ruth was one of the strongest women I know, and also one of the most positive,” she wrote on Twitter.

“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.”

PA