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Date finally given for Ronan’s long awaited operation

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SUCCESS: After waiting for over two years for an operation to fix a 90 degree curvature of the spine, Ronan Foley, pictured here outside St Oliver's NS with his dad Tony, mom Caroline and brother Gavin, has been given a date for surgery next week. Photo: Michelle Crean

By Michelle Crean

After waiting in severe pain for over two and a half years for vital life-changing surgery Ronan Foley - whose family campaigned vigorously - has been given a date for next week.

The surgery - which was cancelled a number of times before - can't come soon enough according to his family who have seen a rapid deterioration of Ronan's spine - which is now at a curvature of over 90 degrees causing chronic pain all day everyday.

His family, alongside staff at St Oliver's NS, TDs, politicians and locals, took part in a media campaign which was featured in the Killarney Advertiser and online to get an urgent date to help give him back a pain free life.

This week his father Tony said that they are delighted to have finally secured a date for next Thursday - but are cautious in case it is cancelled again.

"We have a provisional date, but the nearer we get to it the more nervous we are," Tony told the Killarney Advertiser this week.

"We are delighted but cautious with it. We got the call two weeks ago but kept it to ourselves just in case. We only told family and friends at the weekend in case it got cancelled again."

Ronan (14), who suffers from Cerebral Palsy, is waiting for his operation since March 2018 when he had a 42 degree curve in his spine. By October, this deteriorated to 79 degrees. The operation waiting time should only be three to four months, according to Tony.

"It was decided then that he was priority for surgery and that he'd have it in three to four months. We're two years down the road now and the curvature is over 90 degrees. He's in pain daily. He's either in the bed or lying on the floor on a duvet and it's impacting his organs. He is in a sitting position for a half hour or tops three quarters of an hour each day to eat and we're always asking him if he's comfortable."

The operation for Ronan, who started in St Francis Special School just two weeks ago, will dramatically change his life.

He is a very social child and has a fantastic personality. He loves it there and and it has really picked up his form. He has a fantastic life to get back to," Tony added.

"We're hopefully at a conclusion now, but we're not over the line yet."

Tony, from Killorglin, added that he and his family are so grateful to everyone who helped their campaign from staff at St Oliver's, the locals, TDs Michael Healy-Rae, Pa Daly, Norma Foley, Cllrs Mikey Sheey and Michael Cahill, and local company The Brand Geeks.

"Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has also been very good to us, very approachable and supportive. We can't thank everyone enough."

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Develop skills and improve employability

By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors Traineeships are developed and delivered on an ongoing basis by Education and Training Boards (ETBs) nationwide and are open to potential participants of all ages and backgrounds including school leavers, mature learners and those in or seeking employment. Developed in partnership with industry representatives […]

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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

Traineeships are developed and delivered on an ongoing basis by Education and Training Boards (ETBs) nationwide and are open to potential participants of all ages and backgrounds including school leavers, mature learners and those in or seeking employment.

Developed in partnership with industry representatives and employers, these programmes combine learning in the classroom with a minimum of 30 percent of learning on-the-job. The focus is on ‘learning on the go’ and developing perspectives that are in tune with the ever evolving world of work. They span across a range of industry sectors including business and retail, media, manufacturing, agriculture, horticulture and mariculture, care, construction, engineering, animal science, fashion and beauty, finance, ICT, hospitality, sports and leisure, and logistics.

At the core of the scheme is a strong collaboration with the ETBs in the provision of work-based learning opportunities on existing and new programmes. Traineeships lead to an award at Levels 4-6 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) and are between six to 24 months in duration. Over 75 programmes are available nationwide – although not all of them will be available nationally at all times – and the content, award and duration may vary. They are designed for flexible delivery to include online, face-to-face and blended learning.

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Second level or higher education students who are interested in participating in a Traineeship Programme should contact their local ETB, adult learners should contact the Adult Education Guidance Service through their local ETB, and jobseekers will be able to access information through their local Intreo Office or Local Employment Service. For those currently unemployed, a training allowance or income support may be available. You can check out the range of opportunities offered through Traineeships nationwide on www.fetchcourses.ie and more locally check out the www.kerrycollege.ie.

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant – For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Return to work courses

Answer: Springboard+ provides free higher education courses for people who are unemployed (or were self-employed) and those looking to return to the workforce. Courses are offered in different areas including Information and Communications Technology (ICT), medical technologies, cybersecurity, sustainable energy and financial services. The courses range from certificate to master’s degree level – Levels 6 […]

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Answer: Springboard+ provides free higher education courses for people who are unemployed (or were self-employed) and those looking to return to the workforce.

Courses are offered in different areas including Information and Communications Technology (ICT), medical technologies, cybersecurity, sustainable energy and financial services.

The courses range from certificate to master’s degree level – Levels 6 to 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). Most of the courses are part-time and last for one year or less, but there are some full-time courses.
You can access a free Springboard+ course, if you are getting a qualifying social welfare payment such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, Jobseeker’s Benefit or the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). You can get a full list of qualifying payments for Springboard+ on citizensinformation.ie

If you are not getting a qualifying social welfare payment, you will have to meet the residency criteria for Springboard+.

You can also apply for a Springboard+ course if:

* You are a qualified adult of working age (under 66) on someone else’s social welfare payment
* You are signing for social insurance credits
* You are on an employment support scheme such as Community Employment (CE) or TUS

To apply for a Springboard+ course, you choose the course(s) you are interested in on springboardcourses.ie and apply online, following the instructions on the website. You can apply for up to 10 courses, but you can only take one course.

If you are getting a social welfare payment, you should notify your Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office and check what further steps (if any) you need to take.
If Springboard+ doesn’t meet your needs, there are several other ways to go back to education.
_______________________________________________________________________

During COVID-19, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:

Tralee on Tel: Call 0761 07 7860, Monday – Friday (10am-4pm)
The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer

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