Search icon


14th Nov 2022

Irish cervical cancer campaigner Vicky Phelan passes away aged 48

Sarah McKenna Barry

We are keeping Vicky’s friends and family in our thoughts during this heartbreaking time.

Irish cervical cancer campaigner Vicky Phelan has passed away, at the age of 48.

The Limerick native was among the hundreds of women impacted by the CervicalCheck scandal. Vicky underwent a smear test in 2011, and was given the all-clear. However, in 2014, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. It wasn’t until 2017 that Vicky was informed that the initial test was incorrect.

Vicky sued Clinical Pathology Laboratories Inc, Austin, Texas for the incorrect result and the case settled for €2.5 million.

Since becoming ill, Vicky has been a fervent advocate for women’s health in Ireland. She was also one of the founding members of the 221+ support group.

Vicky leaves behind her husband Jim, and her children Amelia and Darragh.

Last month, Vicky led tributes to her friend, Lynsey Bennett, who was also impacted by the CervicalCheck scandal. At the time, she announced that she was not doing well.

At the time, she wrote: “I am very late posting a tribute to @lynseybennettofficial here today because I am not well myself.

“I spent most of the day out at the hospital having a procedure done.

“That, unfortunately, is the reality of living with late-stage cervical cancer as Lynsey would have known only too well these last few months of her very short life, at only 34 years of age.”

In 2021, she shared that she had stopped chemotherapy and was undergoing palliative treatment.

This year, a documentary, titled Vicky, premiered in Irish cinemas. The family documents both her experience with cancer, and her advocacy work. The project was nominated for a Human Rights on Film Award at the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival by the Irish Council of Civil Liberties.

We are thinking of Vicky’s friends and family during this heart-breaking time.