Gardaí have put in place a traffic management plan ahead of a public memorial service for the late cervical cancer campaigner Vicky Phelan.
A huge crowd is expected at the event in Mooncoin, Co Kilkenny, the village where she grew up.
Ms Phelan died on November 14th at Milford Hospice in Limerick after a long battle with cervical cancer.
She grabbed the attention of the Irish public in 2018 after bringing a High Court case over how her cervical smears tests were handled.
She was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2014, three years after a smear test result she had undergone was wrongly reported as clear.
Her case prompted more than 200 other women to come forward over misreported smear test results and led to a series of reviews of Ireland’s cervical cancer screening programme CervicalCheck.
Despite receiving a terminal cervical cancer diagnosis, Ms Phelan actively campaigned for better healthcare and better accountability in the healthcare system and co-founded the 221+ advocacy group alongside campaigners Lorraine Walsh and Stephen Teap.
A private funeral was held for Ms Phelan three days after her death as per her wishes. The Phelan and Kelly families last week announced that the public will get their chance to say their goodbyes and celebrate her life in Mooncoin on Sunday 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 local garda division said 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). 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 be provided at this location.
People who choose 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 continued: “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. Carpooling is being advised where possible."
Vicky connected with so many people, on so many different levels & when she asked us to host a gathering in Mooncoin...
A live stream will be available on YouTube for those who cannot attend the memorial.
In their announcement of the memorial celebration of Vicky’s life, the Kelly and Phelan families said music would feature prominently in the service “with some of her favourite musicians playing a few of her favourite tunes on the day.”
They added: “Vicky connected with so many people, on so many different levels & when she asked us to host a gathering in Mooncoin after her passing, we could honestly think of nothing more appropriate.
“We hope that Sunday's gathering will be all that Vicky hoped it would be, an opportunity for family, friends & the wider public to join with us in this celebration of her life.”