Neither the HSE nor the State ever apologised to Ruth Morrissey, according to a statement issued on behalf of her husband, Paul.

The statement issued by the Morrisseys' solicitor, Cian O'Carroll, said that now it was "too late" for such an apology. It described the decision by the State and the laboratories to appeal the High Court decision last year as a "terrible blow".

The statement added that Mrs Morrissey fought fiercely to stay alive for the family she adored. And it said the example she set stood as "an enduring inspiration of strength and determination that should help many others through difficult times in the future".

The statement said Mrs Morrissey passed away this morning at Milford Hospice, with Paul by her side. Ruth had achieved so much in her life, it said, but chief among her accomplishments was the love she and Paul shared and the wonderful daughter they brought into the world and raised with love.

It described Ruth Morrissey as having "a sparkle to her smile, her wit and intelligence". This "made her wonderful company and her friendship was a gift she gave generously to anyone who knew her".

The statement said the State and the laboratories chose Mrs Morrissey as the test case for the issues surrounding the CervicalCheck screening programme, despite the time she had left being so short. It added that she showed "courage and determination" throughout the 36-day "marathon trial". It said the decision by the laboratories and the State last year to appeal the High Court decision was a terrible blow. By the time the appeal was heard in December, Mrs Morrissey was very sick and weak, but she still made it to the hearings for one day.

The statement continued that the Supreme Court confirmed the High Court decision in holding the State and the HSE responsible for the errors in the operation of CervicalCheck, a decision that established the test for the standard of care for all other women and families in a similar situation.

It added that neither the HSE nor the State had ever apologised to Mrs Morrissey, "despite the magnitude of the harm caused to her by avoidable errors, despite the broken promise of a Taoiseach who said no other woman would have to go to trial, and despite using Ruth as a test case through the final years and months of her life".

It added that the Morrissey and Moloney families wished to thank all those who gave help, support and medical care to Ruth over these past few difficult years.

Ruth's life was a very happy one, it continued, and none of the hardships of recent years robbed her of her good cheer and positive spirit.

President Michael D Higgins paid tribute to Mrs Morrissey, saying: "So many people across Ireland will have learned with great sadness of the passing of Ruth Morrissey. 

"Ruth Morrissey's tremendous courage in an arduous campaign for truth and justice leaves a legacy of courage for all Irish people, and for those campaigning for women's right to healthcare in particular. 

"Sabina and I send our sincere condolences to her husband Paul, their daughter, her family and friends, and to all those who have shared Mrs Morrissey's journey."

Taoiseach Micheál Martin also paid tribute to the CervicalCheck campaigner, saying he was "deeply saddened" to learn of Mrs Morrissey's death.

"Ruth was a brave, courageous woman who worked tirelessly for others and for future generations of women in this country," he said.

"She was generous of spirit and had the interests of others at heart. I wish to extend my sympathies to her husband Paul, her daughter Libby, her family and friends. May she rest in peace."

In a statement, a spokesman for the Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar, said he extended his sympathy to the family and friends of Ruth Morrissey.

The spokesman added that as taoiseach, Mr Varadkar gave a formal State apology to all women and their families affected by the CervicalCheck crisis in October 2019.

Fellow campaigner Vicky Phelan posted a heartfelt tribute to her friend on Twitter, calling her "one of the strongest women I know".

"Ruth was one of the strongest women I know, and also one of the most positive. I never once saw her without a smile on her face and I saw her when she was very ill.

"My thoughts today are with Ruth's husband, Paul and their beautiful daughter, Libby who Ruth adored," she said.

Cervical cancer survivor and patient advocate Lorraine Walsh said "Rest in Peace Ruth Morrissey; a beautiful, gentle lady, your life has been cut short far too soon, you shouldered a great burden for many of us".

Fellow campaigner, Stephen Teap, whose wife Irene died from cervical cancer, said Mrs Morrissey was a "kind and gentle soul" who he was honoured to know. He said this world was at a loss without her.