Ryan Tubridy told the country Vicky Phelan is “possibly the best president Ireland has never had” as the presenter looked visibly upset during a touching RTÉ Late Late memorial show honoring the activist.
Ubridy told the audience, “Let’s remember Vicky Phelan because some people are too alive to die.”
After meeting the mother-of-two a number of times, it was clear Tubridy had been mourning the loss of Vicky himself.
He said he will “remember her dignity, tenacity and courage and also her divilment.”
He added, “She was a funny person, she was quick to laugh… You always knew when Vicky Phelan was in the room, she was a natural leader and quite possibly the best president this country has ever had.”
“She died and Vicky taught the rest of us how to live. May she rest in peace, a peace she so much deserves.”
The joy of Vicky’s spirit felt alive in the studio as her favorite band, The Stunning, performed in her honor.
The Galway band remembered Vicky with two of their most popular songs, An Empty Feeling and Heads Are Gonna Roll.
Band member Joe Wall told Ryan Tubridy, “I came across the first email Vicky sent back in 2014. She organized a meeting for her friend, a 40th birthday party.
“They couldn’t see any gigs on our website and they said, ‘When are you playing?'”
Vicky’s admiration for the band continued even during her journey with terminal cancer when one of her friends wrote to the band again asking if they would play a private show for her.
“One of her friends said she was too sick,” Joe said. “She was diagnosed and asked if there was any way we could play at her house.”
However, Vicky’s dismay was evident when she sent another email.
She asked the band if they were able to organize a “bigger venue, could they bring friends and family,” Joe said.
Tubridy laughed and said it was typical of Vicky, who asked the band live on the show last year to play at her funeral.
The band told Tubridy how they got together in June 2018 to play at a private party for Vicky, her friends and family.
“It was great meeting her friends and family,” said Joe. The band felt flattered and proud that their songs were “a mixtape to a soundtrack of their lives,” Joe added.
The audience gave Vicky a standing ovation, remembering who she was and what she achieved for Irish women by fighting for better women’s health care.
Tubridy said it was only fitting that audiences stand in her memory for “everything that Vicky Phelan has done for our country.”
Vicky’s friends and collaborators Stephen Teap and Lorraine Walsh also recalled their “sister’s” hilarious memories as they revealed that even at the most serious moments of their campaign, they occasionally sneaked off for a “gin” when waiting for her meetings.
Stephen said in those moments Vicky had said, ‘There’s plenty of time to squeeze in a gin.
“You would go and do it to have the madness. So much campaigning was so serious. A lot has to do with death. If we had a free moment, the three of us would take the opportunity (to have fun).”
Lorraine added, “You either cry or make a joke and laugh about it…”
And the two women had even joked that “Stephen should have an honorary cervix” for all the hard work he’d done to help those have a better cervical cancer screening service.
Stephen laughed and said, “The love these girls have for me, the two older sisters I never had.”
Tubridy said, “Isn’t it lovely to laugh. I’m sorry you lost a sister and the country feels like it’s lost a sister, but the fight goes on.”
The couple attended their boyfriend’s private funeral in Shannon, Co Clare yesterday.
Lorraine said it was “an honor” to attend and be with Vicky’s loved ones, including husband Jim, daughter Amelia and son Darragh.
“She would be so proud of Jim, Darragh and Amelia,” Lorraine said. “She would have burst with pride. Her strength was amazing, I think her strength would have rubbed off on her.”
Lorraine said the family was “so grateful for the privacy” of the funeral since Vicky was “such a public figure”.
“The media were her friends,” Lorraine said, commenting on a connection the highly respected and revered cervical check activist had with every journalist she met.
“But it was a time when the public wasn’t under scrutiny, so they were really grateful for that,” Lorraine added.
“They all have a little bit of Vicky,” she said of the family. The funeral was “like an event, but the host wasn’t there.
“Every single one of them has a little bit of her, they’re all great with people, but it was so weird that she wasn’t in the thick of it.”
Tubridy said Vicky was “such a part of the country’s history”.
The campaign will continue after Vicky’s death, and Lorraine said the next step is to use the results of Dr. Listening to Gabriel Scally to see how the cervical cancer screening system in Ireland has changed.
Lorraine said: “Gabriel Scally’s final report is imminent. He has gone back to see what has been done and accomplished. Its a lot to do…”
Stephen said that although he disliked the word “legacy”, he believed Vicky’s legacy was “her two children, Darragh and Amelia”.
The children shared the same “strength, courage, and compassion and love for others” that their mother had for people, he added.
https://www.independent.ie/news/the-best-president-we-never-had-ryan-tubridy-pays-emotional-tribute-to-vicky-phelan-42157021.html Ryan Tubridy Pays Emotional Tribute to Vicky Phelan: ‘The Best President We’ve Never Had’