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30th Sep 2022

Vicky Phelan’s image projected onto GPO

Sarah McKenna Barry

An incredibly powerful image.

An image of Vicky Phelan was projected onto Dublin’s historic General Post Office last night ahead of the film Vicky, which explores her campaign for justice for women impacted by the CervcialCheck Scandal.

The portrait was created by artist Conor Merriman.

Limerick woman Vicky took a smear test in 2011 which showed that she had no abnormalities, however, three years later she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. It then transpired that the initial test was a false negative, though Vicky wasn’t informed of this until 2017. She was one of over 200 women whose lives were severely impacted by the false negative results, and last year, she announced that she was seeking palliative care.

In 2018, she settled her High Court case against US lab Quest Diagnostics over the false positive result for €2.5 million.

At the time, she told the court: “I was in shock when I was told. I am angry, extremely angry. If I was diagnosed I probably would have had to have a procedure and at worse a hysterectomy.

“If I was told sooner, I would not be in a position of a terminal cancer diagnosis.”

Now, in an upcoming film directed by Sasha King, viewers will get an insight into not only her campaign for justice for Irish women, but they’ll also get an inside look into her life with cancer.

The official synopsis from Volta Pictures reads: “In 2018 on the steps of the High Court in Dublin, Vicky Phelan gave a now infamous address where she exposed one of the worst women’s health scandals in Irish History, the CervicalCheck debacle.

“VICKY is a profound and intimate journey into not only her fight to expose the truth of what happened for all women but also her own personal fight to stay alive.”

The film comes out on 7 October, and you can watch the trailer below.

Vicky won the award for Best Irish Documentary at the Dublin International Film Festival this year, and it also received a nomination for an Irish Council of Civil Liberties Human Rights Award.