People wishing to attend a service to honour Vicky Phelan on Sunday will be able park and ride to the public event on shuttle buses, while the service will also be live-streamed for those who cannot attend.
ardaí have put in place a traffic management plan ahead of a memorial service for the late cervical cancer campaigner, which starts at 1pm, as hundreds are expected to descend on the Co Kilkenny village where she grew up.
The mother of two originally from Mooncoin, Co Kilkenny, but who lived in Annacotty, Co Limerick, died on November 14.
She lifted the lid on the CervicalCheck scandal in 2018 with a High Court case over how her smear tests were handled after the HSE outsourced them to a US firm.
Ms Phelan was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2014, three years after a smear test she had was wrongly reported as clear.
Her case prompted more than 220 other women to come forward over misreported smear test results and led to several reviews of the State’s cervical cancer screening programme and a damning report by Dr Gabriel Scally, who said it was “doomed to fail”.
A private funeral was held for Ms Phelan (48) three days after her death, in accordance with her wishes. Her family announced last week that Sunday’s memorial service would be an opportunity for the public to say their goodbyes and celebrate her life. The service takes place in Mooncoin at 1pm at the Church of the Assumption.
Gardaí are expecting large crowds to attend the memorial service and have put a traffic plan in place.
In a statement, the Waterford/Kilkenny/Carlow Garda division explained that the church where the memorial is being held is located on the N24 at the Carrick-on-Suir side of Mooncoin village and can be easily accessed by foot or road.
“The Church itself has a capacity of 300 (maximum),” gardaí said.
“Thereafter, attending patrons will be diverted to the nearby GAA complex where big screens will be live screening the event. Park and ride will also be encouraged.
“There will be no restrictions to traffic travelling through the village, albeit there will be a strict no parking policy on the Main Road and throughout the village itself. Cars parked illegally will be towed away.”
Gardaí have set out access to the event and are advising that traffic approaching from the Dublin/Waterford direction will be diverted at Dawn Meats Grannagh toward parking areas within the factory grounds. A park and ride facility will be provided at this location.
Traffic arriving from the Limerick/Clonmel direction will be diverted at the Tower Road junction from the Piltown Bypass towards a parking area at Piltown GAA Grounds. A park and ride facility will also be provided at this location.
People who chose to park in Mooncoin village will be directed towards available parking in Martin Hawley’s Field on Main Street, Mooncoin GAA Complex and Mooncoin Celtic Club grounds at Suir Crescent.
The garda statement continues: “A park-and-ride facility will be in place from 11am to bring patrons from locations at Dawn Meats and Piltown GAA grounds to the Church of the Assumption and Mooncoin GAA complex.
“Buses will drop patrons at bus stops located at the front of the Church on the main road. Patrons will be directed to their destination on arrival.”
Buses will be on a circular route and collecting passengers every 10 minutes
“Disabled parking is available at the Graveyard, Polerone Rd, which is adjacent to the church. Patrons are asked to cooperate with Gardaí/stewards, drive safely and exercise patience.”
Car pooling is being advised where possible.
A live stream will be available at this link for those who cannot attend the memorial.
The Kelly and Phelan families added in their announcement of the memorial celebration: “At this point it’s fair to say that music will feature prominently, with some of her favourite musicians playing a few of her favourite tunes on the day.”
Ms Phelan is survived by her husband Jim, her children Amelia and Daragh, her parents and four siblings.