FINE GAEL has been asked to respond after a video appeared online showing a woman removing one of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s election posters from a pole in Limerick, claiming it was covering a sign for a cancer screening service.
The Taoiseach’s poster was cut down by GE2020 Solidarity-People Before Profit candidate, and former Limerick City and County councillor Mary Callihane Vallely, who later tweeted the video.
“Just to be clear, this poster is covering up the sign for the BreastCheck programme in St Joseph’s Hospital, and in my opinion, Leo Varadkar and Fine Gael have done enough damage to the health service in this country, and I haven’t forgotten the CervicalCheck women, so I am cutting this poster down because I am sick of looking at it,” Ms Cahillane Vallely says in the video.
Source Mary Cahillane Vallely Solidarity-People Before Profit General Election candidate
“If he [Taoiseach] wants it he can call around to my house,” she adds.
When contacted this afternoon, Ms Cahillane Vallely said she had “no regrets” about cutting the poster down.
She said the video had been viewed “over 100,000” times, and added, “a small bit of rebellion goes a long way”.
“To me, it epitomises the arrogance with which Fine Gael treats the health service, but also women’s health.”
She continued: “I was putting up my own posters and I saw this one [of an Taoiseach]. I looked up and thought it was covering the sign for St John’s Hospital – I was a getting a bit mixed up, and I came back and looked at it again and saw actually, that it was covering the sign for the BreastCheck screening programme in St Joseph’s Hospital, so I went home to get my garden clippers and I just clipped it down.”
“I have been long on the ground campaigning on the issue of CervicalCheck and how those women were treated, and I haven’t forgotten that. Emma Mhic Mhathuna was a friend of my niece and I was thinking of her when I was cutting it down. I thought I did her a good service.”
Ms Mhic Mhathuna was one of 221 women with cervical cancer found to have received incorrect smear test results during a clinical audit of past tests by the CervicalCheck screening programme.
The mother of five died from her cancer, aged 37, on October 7th, 2018.
“They shouldn’t be covering up those signs, so I have no regrets,” Ms Cahillane Vallely said.
Fine Gael has been asked for a response.