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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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County Board open to GAA museum proposals

By Sean Moriarty The Kerry County GAA Board said it would operate “an open door policy” for any plans to build a GAA museum in the county. There have been talks at a political level to build such a museum in Kerry with political rivals in Killarney and Tralee both pushing for it to be built […]

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By Sean Moriarty

The Kerry County GAA Board said it would operate “an open door policy” for any plans to build a GAA museum in the county.

There have been talks at a political level to build such a museum in Kerry with political rivals in Killarney and Tralee both pushing for it to be built in their home town.

Before he retired from politics in April, Michael Gleeson was campaigning to build a GAA and cultural museum on the grounds of Fitzgerald Stadium.

His campaign goes back several years before the recession set in, with a €0.5 million bridging loan secured from Croke Park along with funding from Fáilte Ireland. That funding was lost with the onset of the recession before 2010.

Tim Murphy, the outgoing chairman of the Kerry County Board, has confirmed to the Killarney Advertiser that no approaches have been made to the County Board at executive level during his five year stint at the helm.

However, he said the Board would be open to such approaches provided there is sound financial planning behind the project in place.

“The first and most important aspect is the capital funding and my understanding is there needs to be Fáilte Ireland funding in place first,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “If it gets up and running, there needs to be very clear talks with all stakeholders so everyone knows each others expectations. A museum attracts footfall, but it costs a lot of money to run. We would offer an open door policy to all proposals but funding, first from a capital point of view and then from an operational point of view, will need to be in place.”

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Loreto pupils are happy to help save the planet

By Michelle Crean School pupils are fast becoming the next generation of environmentalists thanks to a brand new litter-picking campaign. Happy to help save the planet one bit of litter at a time are the children from Scoil Bhríde, Loreto NS, who are currently partaking in the Picker Pal Programme. It’s all about taking on […]

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By Michelle Crean

School pupils are fast becoming the next generation of environmentalists thanks to a brand new litter-picking campaign.

Happy to help save the planet one bit of litter at a time are the children from Scoil Bhríde, Loreto NS, who are currently partaking in the Picker Pal Programme.

It’s all about taking on a litter-picking adventure in their local area as well as learning songs, reading storybooks, filling in activity books while witnessing that their real-world actions are making a positive difference and inspiring others to join the movement.

Picker Pals is a unique primary school programme that gives children the tools and motivation to become the next generation of environmentalists, teacher Claire O’Meara explained.

“The Picker Pal Programme is a fantastic initiative and will go a long way to raise awareness of the impact litter has on our environment,” she told the Killarney Advertiser.

Real litter-picking is motivated by a Picker Pack made from upcycled dinghy sails and containing adult and child litter-picking tools, gloves, hi-vis vests and safety information.

“This pack is then taken home by a different pupil every week. That child takes their adult on a litter-picking adventure. The children then tell the story of their litter-picking adventures through art and writing. Raising awareness is an essential part of the solution to littering. Picker Pals gives young people the tools and positive motivation to steward their local environment and make the world a better place.”

The programme, run by environmental NGO VOICE Ireland, is funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and various local authorities across Ireland.

Now in its third year of operation, over one thousand schools all across Ireland will be taking part in the Picker Pals programme this year. In Kerry, 29 schools are taking part, and Scoil Bhríde, Loreto is delighted to be included, she added.

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