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“Government is failing Lymes disease sufferers” – councillor claims




By Michelle Crean

A local councillor has been left angered by the Health Minister's comments claiming there was no need for people to travel abroad for Lymes Disease testing or treatment.

TREATMENT ABROAD: Karin O’Shea had no option but to receive treatment abroad for Lymes Disease.

In a letter to Kerry County Council in March, Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, said that “there is no need for Irish residents to travel to other countries for diagnosis or treatment”.

However, his words have hit a sour note with Killarney Municipal District councillor Maura Healy Rae who has called on the Council at its meeting last week to write to the Minister asking if the current testing in Ireland at present can diagnose chronic Lyme Disease.

The Independent councillor, who has been actively campaigning for support especially for chronic cases of the disease, said his remarks have angered Lymes sufferers, many who have had no option but to go abroad to seek help.

One such case is St Brendan's College teacher Karin O'Shea who lives in Kilgarvan who raised over €66,000 via GoFundMe to help pay for her vital life-changing treatment in Germany.

"The Minister’s response has not only angered Lymes sufferers, their family and friends who are most aware of their debilitating symptoms, it also displays either a lack of understanding of chronic Lymes Disease on the Minister’s part or a refusal on the part of the Department of Health to acknowledge the inadequacies in relation to diagnosis and treatment offered to Lymes sufferers in this country," Cllr Maura Healy Rae said.

"The testing in Ireland currently, is able to diagnose those who have been recently infected but not those who have become infected over a long period of time. The Irish tests test for antibodies. People with chronic Lymes Disease have suppressed immune systems; their bodies often won’t produce any antibodies, therefore the test will show up negative for Lymes. This explains why so many people have been misdiagnosed with other diseases such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis, and Fibromyalgia."

The German tests - which costs €1,000, with intensive treatment in the region of €40,000 and the post treatment medication €500 a month - test the cells for the presence or previous presence of Lymes and therefore, is a more effective test, she added.

"The treatment currently available in Ireland is in antibiotic form and is effective for those who have been recently infected and before the disease has taken chronic hold. The intensive treatment needed for chronic Lymes sufferers is not available in Ireland.

"Really and truly, why does the Minister think any person would subject themselves to such intensive treatment at such an enormous cost abroad if they didn’t believe it to be necessary and critical to them in having any quality of life and to tackle their severe symptoms? In my view, the Minister’s response shows immense arrogance as it implies he knows better than a sufferer of Lymes."

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Sam Maguire to feature at next week’s AugustFest

Killarney Racecourse is set to host the exciting three-day summer horse-racing festival from Thursday August 18 to Saturday 20 inclusive. The festival also marks 200 years of racing at Killarney Races […]




Killarney Racecourse is set to host the exciting three-day summer horse-racing festival from Thursday August 18 to Saturday 20 inclusive. The festival also marks 200 years of racing at Killarney Races offering patrons great racing, history, socialising, entertainment and so much more at Ireland’s most scenic racecourse.

With lots of ticket levels and packages including food and beverage options to choose from, whether it is close to the action general admission tickets or silver service fine dining, there is something for everyone at Killarney Races. Live music, fashion, and fun for all the family complement the best of summer racing at the track this August.

Thursday and Friday are evening meetings and Saturday is an afternoon event with all race cards offering seven thrilling races for spectators to enjoy each day.

Thursday is Sam Maguire evening. And to mark Kerry’s recent success and Killarney Races bi-centenary celebration, Killarney Races are offering an amazing deal on the opening day of their three-day event. On Thursday August 18 patrons will enjoy admission, a racecard and a €5 free bet all for €20! The first race is approximately 5pm with gates open from 3pm. Come early, bring along your jersey and camera, it’s going to be a great evening.

Friday will see the new entrance officially open, as racing officials and elected representatives unlock the gate to the next 200 years at the popular Killarney track, first race at approximately 5pm with gates open from 3pm. With music on the lawn from Donal Lucey and from Tom Cats in the Jim Culloty bar after racing the après racing party is sure to be a ‘winner alright’!

Saturday is AYU Ladies Day and all about the glamour as fashionistas bring the curtain down on AugustFest in fine style. AYU is an Irish based and Irish owned cosmetics company set up by renowned make-up artist Suzie O’Neill. With over €1,500 in prizes for the most stylish ladies to dress up for, what’s not to love! Gates open from 12 noon with the first off at approximately 2pm.

“At AugustFest we will be celebrating a major milestone here at Killarney Races, 200 years of racing in Killarney which is amazing,” Killarney Racecourse Chairman, Gerard Coughlan said.

“I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all locals and visitors to Killarney to come along and be part of the 200 year celebrations and share in this historic moment with us as we officially open the gates on the next 200 years! It’s a rare opportunity to be able to say ‘I was there the day they celebrated the bi-centenary’ anywhere and what a great story to share with the grandchildren in years to come. On that note, we are looking forward to welcoming multiple generations of families during AugustFest, so make a plan and come along and join us for what will be a most remarkable festival at our beautiful boutique racecourse this August!”

The feature race on the opening day of AugustFest is the Vincent O’Brien Ruby Stakes (listed), the Kingdom Gold Cup Handicap of €50,000 and the Gain Advantage Race Series. On Friday, the day two feature is the Grade B Handicap Hurdle of €50,000 and the EBF Novice Hurdle, with four competitive chase races. The final day of the festival the feature is the Grade B Handicap Chase of €50,000.

Adult tickets are available from €20 and children under 14 go free ensuring a great day out for all the family. For those who love a deal, the “Punter’s Pack” is a great value-added option and if you want to live it up check out the Maurice O’Donoghue Suite and Panoramic Restaurant options.

For all ticket details and festival programme information visit

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Jessie Buckley’s album shortlisted for prestigious award

Killarney superstar Jessie Buckley has been shortlisted for the 2022 Mercury Prize Album of the Year. Her collaboration with Bernard Butler ‘For All Our Days That Tear the Heart’ is […]




Killarney superstar Jessie Buckley has been shortlisted for the 2022 Mercury Prize Album of the Year.

Her collaboration with Bernard Butler ‘For All Our Days That Tear the Heart’ is one of 12 albums shortlisted for the prestigious award which will be revealed in London on September 8.

“Neither of us really knew each other and it was actually a blessing in disguise because we met each other in the moment and trusted each other, took a leap of faith and in a way come in just the way we were and not because of who we are,” she told a press conference at the awards announcement in London last week.


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