Vicky Phelan reveals that she was more excited to meet Mary Robinson than Meghan Markle 2 years ago

Vicky Phelan reveals that she was more excited to meet Mary Robinson than Meghan Markle

In the age of Instagram, the word 'inspirational' is bandied about all too often. But there's one woman to whom the term can more than appropriately be applied: Vicky Phelan.

By going public after settling a court action in April 2018, Vicky broke the cervical cancer screening scandal that rocked the country. In the weeks and months that followe her brave stand, it was revealed that she was just one of 221 women who had not been told that the results of smear tests previously given as 'clear' were overturned by a clinical audit.

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In the three years that the news was kept from her, Vicky's own cancer went from treatable to terminal.

Since then, the mum-of-two has become a household name for her campaigning work in the area of women's health. That story and the other momentous challenges that Vicky has faced in her life – including a devastating car accident and post natal depression – are charted in Vicky's newly-released memoir, Overcoming.

When Her met with Vicky ahead of the book's release, we asked when you're an inspiration to the country, who do you draw inspiration from yourself?

The answer it seems is former President Mary Robinson, whom Vicky met at a garden party at the British Ambassador's residence to celebrate the visit of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle last summer.

"I met Mary Robinson last year and I was delighted. Everyone was saying 'Oh my god, you're meeting Prince Harry and Meghan Markle' and, not that I couldn't care less, but that was of less importance to me than meeting the rugby players who were on the guest list – I'm big into the sport.

"I didn't know that Mary Robinson was going to be there and I spotted her and said I'd love to go over and say hello. I was talking to Simon Coveney and he said: 'Would you believe I met her inside and she said she wanted to meet you?' I was like: 'What? Really? She wants to meet me?' It was a fangirl thing!

"I was so delighted to meet her. I think she was a great President, and now she's doing some fantastic work. She's really, really nice and she's great fun actually. You see these people and you put them up on a pedestal and then you meet them and they're actually lovely."

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You can join Vicky Phelan for live talks, supported by Her, about her remarkable story in Cork and Limerick this month. Tickets are €20 and include a copy of Overcoming.

Overcoming by Vicky Phelan with Naomi Linehan, published by Hachette Ireland, is out now priced €14.99.