South East Technological University (SETU) was honoured to host the ‘Vicky Phelan Campaign and Portrait’ on International Women’s Day as a legacy to the University’s Honorary Fellow and former colleague, Vicky Phelan.

The event focused on creating positive change and working to ensure that the powerful campaign which Vicky drove, advocating for patients’ rights and improved healthcare for Irish women, continues with momentum.

Dr Allison Kenneally, Vice President for Equality Diversity & Inclusion said “Many here in SETU were lucky enough to work with and get to know Vicky during her time working here. She was and is held in such huge esteem by all who knew and worked with her, and indeed, all staff and students across the SETU community, who have such enormous respect and admiration for the work she did and the legacy she leaves. At SETU, it is our firm wish that we continue to work in Vicky’s name to uphold the values she most cherished – respect, honesty, equality and accountability.”

The University also announced the establishment of “The Vicky Phelan Equality Diversity & Inclusion Award” in honour of Vicky to ensure that her contribution to the University, women’s healthcare, patient rights and Irish society continues to burn bright in the minds of our staff and students for generations to come. The award will made annually to the staff member or student who is judged to have made the greatest contribution to equality, diversity and inclusion in the university community.

Members of Vicky’s family were joined by university staff and students, local representatives, students from local secondary schools and members of the public at the event on the University’s Cork Road Campus, Waterford.

The event showcased a host of speakers for the event including Prof Veronica Campbell, SETU President, Tammy Darcy, founder of the Shona Project, John Wall, friend of Vicky Phelan, David Brennan, owner of Vicky Phelan Triptych Portrait, Vincent Devine, artist of Vicky Phelan Triptych Portrait, Cian O’Carroll, Vicky's special medical negligence solicitor, Roisin Ni Chadhla, BTYS & Student Public Health Researcher and Lorraine Walsh, 221+ co-founder, friend of Vicky and cancer survivor. 

Mr. David Brennan, a close friend of Vicky’s, and owner of the Vicky Phelan Triptych Portrait said “I am delighted to be able to bring the ‘Vicky Phelan Campaign & Portrait Tour’ back to SETU for International Women’s Day again this year. I know it means so much to Vicky’s friends and colleagues at SETU to be able to celebrate Vicky as a powerful advocate for all the Women of Ireland. We are all indebted to Vicky for her bravery and her work in improving healthcare for women in Ireland and we all have a duty to row in behind Vicky to continue her campaign in creating “awareness” and “change” for Women and Men across the country.

“My vision for the ‘Vicky Phelan Campaign & Portrait Tour’ is endorsed and inspired by Vicky herself. As long as we continue to support Vicky’s Campaign, Vicky will keep saving lives. Momentum is certainly gaining, and a lot of interest is being expressed from all over the country from people seeking to get involved in helping out with the events, to host events and to use what I’m doing to run in parallel with other awareness campaigns such as HPV vaccine awareness, health awareness and education.

“Although Vicky is not with us in person, her legacy is very much alive and the love and admiration for her at all the events is something very special.”

To support Vicky’s campaign and to ensure women’s health remain to the fore in SETU, HSE Health Promotion & Improvement officers Katie Dillon Keane, Siobhan Morrissey & Sarah Fitzpatrick hosted a stand with information on HPV & Cervical checks, assisted by SETU Second Year Public Health and Health Promotion students coordinated by Lecturer Mairead Barry.