"This was never about him, but he doesn't seem to realise that." Vicky Phelan reacts to Tony O'Brien resignation
"More heads will have to roll."
Vicky Phelan, the terminally-ill Limerick mother whose cancer diagnosis brought the CervicalCheck scandal to light, has voiced her opinion on the news of Tony O'Brien's resignation as well as his latest backlash at the Public Accounts Committee.
Phelan joined Richard Curran on Friday morning's episode of the Today programme on RTÉ to discuss the news of O'Brien's resignation, which broke on Thursday night only days after he was backed to continue in the role until July by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
It's believed that the emergence of damning internal HSE memos, discussed by the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday, put pressure on Mr O’Brien to resign.
Phelan began her interview on the Today programme by thanking Marc MacSharry for his questioning of O'Brien before the PAC yesterday.
"His tweet smacks of someone who is used to getting his own way, throwing one's toys out of the pram springs to mind," Phelan began, referencing the outgoing HSE head's recent post to Twitter.
"So, the issues that were being raised concerned the cover-up, and the lack of absolute regard for the women caught up in this scandal and his use of the word hysteria really sent me over the edge yesterday when I heard that.
"Can someone not take him aside now and tell him that this is not about him, not by a long shot. This was never about him but he doesn't seem to realise that."
The 43-year-old then spoke of how she feels about the case of Emma Mhic Mhathúna, the mother-of-five who is also facing a terminal cancer diagnosis due to the HSE breakdown.
Phelan stated that she saw Mhic Mhathúna's interview, mentioning that the Kerry woman's words were very raw as this was news to her, while Vicky had time to process her diagnosis out of the public eye.
She also thanked Mhic Mhathúna for her interview, as she believed this is what pushed O'Brien "over the edge".
"Nobody could have stayed in a position after a powerful interview like that," Phelan said.
Phelan then spoke about how Health Minister Simon Harris had phoned her personally on Friday morning to tell her of the steps he's putting in place to deal with the situation. However, Phelan believes that O'Brien's resignation was just the start of it.
"More heads will have to roll," she said.
On the memos that have come to light, Phelan told Richard Curran that she wasn't surprised by the tone, claiming that the HSE prioritised finances over patient care.
"They were more worried about themselves and being sued than about me as a patient," she said.
'These memos are even more damning, to be honest. Containment and media management was the priority, not the women who have been affected by this."
The full interview can be found here.