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Community rally to save Alannah’s sight



GRATEFUL: Parents Geraldine Dunleavy and Andrew Foley, pictured with one-year-old Adam and four-year-old Alannah, are grateful to the community for their support as Alannah undergoes weekly chemotherapy.

By Michelle Crean

The Killorglin community are rallying to help a local family whose little girl is facing chemotherapy to help save her sight.

Four-year-old Alannah Foley is facing weekly trips to Dublin after being diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1), a condition that can cause benign tumours to grow on nerve tissue. In order halt the growth and stop it pressing on her vision her mom Geraldine Dunleavy and dad Andrew Foley are facing weekly trips to Tralee every Thursday to University Hospital Kerry for blood tests followed by a long trip to Dublin each Friday.

Originally Alannah and her family were to make the trip to Cork for the treatment but due to her first round taking place the day of the cyberattack they couldn't get their scheduled appointments at the Mercy Hospital.
And facing the cost of travel to Dublin which will last over over a year, their good friend Kevin Sheehan set up the GoFundMe: 'Alannah and Polly's Fight for Sight' page which has so far raised over €12,000 of the €20,000 goal.

At five-months-old Alannah's parents noticed marks on her body called Cafe au Lait stains, indicators of an underlying illness.

After a trip to the GP they were referred to a neurologist in January 2019. And over that summer Alannah started to appear wobbly and dizzy. She was referred to Cork from her GP and two days later had an MRI which was diagnosed as a tumour which had a build up fluid on her brain. After further testing it turned out to be benign and she was fitted with a shunt to drain the fluid away from her brain down through her stomach. Her parents were advised that the best course of action was to watch and wait.

"We were stunned. It meant trips to Dublin every three months for eye exams, then 10 days later MRIs and 10 days after that travelling up for the results," her mom Geraldine told the Killarney Advertiser.

"When she had her last eye exam they felt it was impacting on her eyesight and opted for chemo."

Andrew, a chef, works as the deli manager in Keane's SuperValu in Killorglin and Geraldine works in childcare part-time. They also have a one-year-old son called Adam.

"we're only at the start of it really," she said. "Polly, Alannah's port, got fitted the day of the cyber attack which meant she could not be put on the system in the Mercy Hospital."

The couple, who live in Lynch Heights, head to Dublin every Friday leaving home at 5.30am and it's a late journey home as they get stuck in evening traffic. With the cost of travel and other expenses, Kevin opted to help out.

Geraldine said that she and fiancee Andrew are overwhelmed by the support of the community.

"We're blown away by the support we've received. People keep stopping and asking us how she is and the kindness has been overwhelming."

They're hoping Alannah will be finished her treatment successfully by August or September 2022 before she starts Junior Infants.

"She's a trouper. She does get tired over the weekend and struggles a bit after the treatment but she ends every day with a smile on her face."

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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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