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Cathal’s incredible determination as he fights bowel cancer




Cathal Walshe is a well known face across Killarney and beyond and this week I talk to him about his battle with bowel cancer.

My camera and I meet Cathal quite regularly at the many fantastic fundraising and charitable events he devotes his time to. Having met him at many events throughout the summer months, regardless of his illness, I thought to spend a while with him and hear how he was doing.

The Whipple procedure - also called a pancreaticoduodenectomy - is the primary surgical treatment for pancreatic cancer or in Cathal’s case, bowel cancer which included the removal of the pancreas, gall bladder and the nodes.

“It’s a diversion of one road and opening up another Marie,” Cathal explained.

“Last March, I was violently ill due to a food blockage and found myself availing of our ambulance service to take me to University Hospital Kerry where I was diagnosed with cancer of the small bowel. Surgeon Murray sent me straight to The Mercy in Cork where I availed of the Whipple procedure on March 9, an eight hour surgery removing organs whilst putting a new system in place to help me back to health again. I remember waking with a team of medical professionals around me, one holding the phone so I could speak to my son Enda. I told him ‘I’m fierce comfortable Enda’ but that was because I could feel absolutely nothing after the epidural which was needed for surgery. The hardest part Marie was the three weeks that followed; a tea and ice cream diet at The Mercy in Cork. It wasn’t Murphy’s Ice Cream let me tell you. It was quite bland but I needed to slowly introduce food back into my system to give myself the best possible chance.”

Cathal began chemo a month later; 12 sessions, two weeks apart under oncologist Dearbhla Collins who he said "was superb".

"Just one round to go on November 21. I thankfully missed just one round due to low bloods. I am blessed to say I’ve had no other side effects to the chemo. I’ve taken no tablets to date, apart from Creon, a substitute for the pancreatic juices. I’d be a bit tired from time to time but nothing a little siesta wouldn’t sort.”

I believed every word Cathal spoke. Another amazingly successful Ring of Kerry Cycle under his belt, which has raised €18.6 million to date, and would have been his 40th year if COVID hadn’t played havoc. Also, 'Nathan’s Walk, Darkness into Light'. After his first chemo, in he walks into Reidy’s for the launch night! Needless to say I asked ‘What is your secret Cathal’?

“I put it down to five things Marie - physical exercise, a good diet, sleep without medication, have a sense of humour and finally, the days I laugh, I laugh, the same as the days I cry, I allow myself to do so. I think my fitness stood to me in that operation and I am delighted to say Friday November 21 will, please God, be my last round of chemo. I am hugely grateful to the staff at the Oncology Department in Tralee and if I might name them - Sheena, Michelle, Jacinta, Una and Abbie. Every second Friday I would visit with 12 or 13 others and sit for two hours receiving chemo. Hooked up through my portal, I would leave with a pump to continue the chemo throughout the weekend before returning on Sunday to have the tank removed.

I was impressed with Cathal’s energy and determination, and told him so.

“My late wife June used to say similar,” Cathal smiled.


“I came to Killarney through my work with An Garda Síochána in 1970 and I fell in love with its people. That’s it Marie. There were no community Garda departments back then, but if there was, that was me.”

Having confirmed a long list of committees and charities; Kerry Hospice, Nathan’s Walk, Ring of Kerry Cycle, Board of Management at Gaelscoil Faithleann, Board of Management at Home from Home, Recovery Haven and winning the Vodafone Passion for the World Around Us Award, to name just a few, I asked Cathal, who was his biggest influence in giving him such a passion for giving?

“Well that’s an easy one,” Cathal replied. “My father. I am one of six siblings, three of which were lost to cancer. We lived at the Garda Barracks in Galway City so there was always someone calling to the door looking for help of some sort, where the door was always open to anyone that did. We lost my father to cancer when I was just 16-years-old but he certainly had made his impact. I am a community man Marie, not a great politician now, but I love to help people and to see change for the better. While we’re on the subject, might I mention the late Yvonne Quill, now there’s a lady, together with her friend Kathleen Foley, you’d never see one without the other who, like Killarney Meitheal’s Johnny McGuire and Padraig Tracy, are all human dynamos! That’s the only way I can describe her, a human dynamo. Forget about the disarray of her car interior, she was more interested in stopping her car to remove any litter in sight. A remarkable lady for Killarney Tidy Towns whom I had the great pleasure of judging St Patrick’s Day Parade with her and Danielle Favier pre-COVID.”

I was delighted to sit and chat with Cathal, at a time when neither of us were at an event of some capacity, and to hear how the person who cares so much for others in our community was doing himself. The brains behind many a table quiz pre-COVID, Cathal said goodbye remarking his delight to be back in action and prepping for an upcoming table quiz in Kilcummin on November 11.

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Five questions to ask yourself before buying a stock

By Michael O’Connor, When it comes to investing, nothing is certain. There are no perfect stocks to buy because there’s no way of predicting the future with 100% accuracy. […]




By Michael O’Connor,

When it comes to investing, nothing is certain.

There are no perfect stocks to buy because there’s no way of predicting the future with 100% accuracy.

The truth is, investing is hard, and building a portfolio of top stocks that beat the market is something that even financial professionals have trouble doing consistently.

For most people, investing in index funds is the perfect hands-off approach, providing broad exposure to the stock market at a very low fee. Even my own personal portfolio is made up of roughly 70% ETFs despite the fact I invest in the market for a living.

But I believe some stock picking is a good strategy for many hands-on people.

Taking a small portion of your overall portfolio and diligently selecting a small number of companies to invest in gives you an opportunity to learn about the investing process and fully understand the businesses you are investing in, which helps to build conviction in your positions.

From a psychological standpoint “collector’s instinct” kicks in, enabling people to participate and invest more money over time.

Lastly, for Irish investors, there are tax benefits to consider. If you invest in individual stocks, you are taxed at the CGT rate of 33%, and the first €1,270 of your gains are exempt from CGT each year. When investing in index funds or ETFs, you are taxed at the exit tax rate of 41% with no annual exemption.

For those interested in picking individual stocks, here are five questions you should ask yourself before investing in any company.

Do I understand the business?

Too many people invest in businesses they don’t understand because it ‘sounds good’. If you have no idea how the company works, you won’t have the conviction needed to hold onto the stock when an inevitable downturn comes.

Can the balance sheet withstand severe, temporary adversity?

This seems obvious, but so many people invest in companies without understanding how much money a company holds and who they owe money to. Economic cycles are guaranteed. You must ensure that the company has enough cash-on-hand to avoid becoming obsolete when activity slows.

Will the company benefit from long-term trends?

Make sure the company will remain relevant into the future. If the stock is cheap now, it may be cheap for a reason.

Is the company enjoying profitable growth?

Not growth at all costs, but a combination of sustainable growth and value. All this information can be found online at sites like

What are the risk factors?

Is the company trying something new and untested? If yes, who are its competitors and how successful are they? If other players are more established, this company may have a tough time breaking into the market.


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Ballyspillane staff open up mental health conversation

By Michelle Crean “Hello, How Are You?” that’s the question staff at Ballyspillane Community Centre will be asking next week as part of a new campaign. It’s all in partnership […]




By Michelle Crean

“Hello, How Are You?” that’s the question staff at Ballyspillane Community Centre will be asking next week as part of a new campaign.

It’s all in partnership with Mental Health Ireland (MHI) and the centre will host an information/coffee morning on Thursday next (March 30) at 12.30pm at their centre and all are welcome to attend.

The campaign initiated by MHI identifies the need for positive engagement and connections with the people around us.

It asks people to engage in open conversations about mental health and prompts us all to ask the question “How Are You?”

The word HELLO is a useful acronym to guide everyone through such conversations, H: Hello, E: Engage positively with the person, L: Listen actively, L: Learn about the person and O: seek options to assist the person if required.

“We all need a listening and compassionate ear sometimes to get us through some challenges in our lives and I think the pandemic has opened a new way of looking at the world, where we can all recognise the challenges that people experience more readily,” Derek O’Leary, Manager of Ballyspillane Community & Family Resource Centre, said.

“Our team here are in the business of supporting families and individuals across the Killarney area and beyond and see the challenges that people face first hand. We also see the positive impact that a caring person can have in such circumstances and this campaign that encourages positive engagement, regarding mental health is a great reminder to us all, the role we can play is assisting others who are struggling.”

Ballyspillane Community & Family Resource Centre provide a suite of support and intervention services including family supports, social prescribing/community connection services and physiotherapeutic services across the Killarney municipal area and beyond.


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