Vicky Phelan has said she is honoured to receive the Freedom of Limerick.

The Mayor of the City and County, Cllr Daniel Butler, presented the award to the CervicalCheck campaigner at a ceremony this evening.

The decision to award Ms Phelan with the highest honour that can be bestowed upon an individual by Limerick City and County Council was made in December 2021.

Earlier, she told RTÉ's Morning Ireland that the symbolism of the gesture meant a lot to her.

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She said: "It's great to highlight that women are well up there with the likes of Paul O'Connell and all the other people who went before me.

"It’s nice to see they are awarding people for civic duties and for standing up and speaking on behalf of others who don’t have a voice."

Ms Phelan, who is the fifth woman to receive the Freedom of Limerick, said the easing of Covid-19 restrictions has been a massive bonus for her because she has been so limited in the number of people she can see over the last few months.

She said: "I did make a conscious decision over the holidays because I didn’t know where things were going with this and how much longer I have.

"I saw as many people as I could because I thought, 'Do you know what? If I’m going to get Covid, I’m going to get Covid, but I can’t not see my family because I don’t know if I’m going to see them again', and that’s my situation and my reality."

Vicky Phelan with members of her family

Ms Phelan said she is feeling well at the moment and paid tribute to her medical team for their work.

"I had a lot of adjustments with my medications over the last number of weeks.

"I've a great palliative team and a great oncology team, and they both talk to each other frequently so they know what everyone is doing," she said.

Ms Phelan described the support she has received over the last four years as "phenomenal"’.

"Every day something comes in the post, cards, mass bouquets, holy water, and that’s four years on from when I took my court case," she said.

Ms Phelan said the support "quadrupled" when she went to the US to try an experimental cancer therapy there.

She added: "When you’re told there are no other options and you come across someone like me who will resist that and keep going and four years later I am still alive. I think it gives other people hope.

"I talk about the hard side to living with an illness like this too and I think people appreciate that it's not all roses in the garden.

"This is a hard road and it’s not for everybody. You take the small wins, when you can get up and not be in pain. Some people don’t get that.

"Even to get out for a walk for me is a big thing because I’ve terrible pain at times in my back, so just even to get out for a walk is a win. That’s what people appreciate, I’m giving my story warts and all."