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“Government is failing Lymes disease sufferers” – councillor claims

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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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Retiring Garda Sergeant began career in Killarney

Antoinette Cunningham who retired last week from An Garda Síochána and the Association of Garda Sergeant’s and Inspector’s as their General Secretary started her career 33 years ago in Killarney. […]

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Antoinette Cunningham who retired last week from An Garda Síochána and the Association of Garda Sergeant’s and Inspector’s as their General Secretary started her career 33 years ago in Killarney.

Sergeant In charge at Killarney Garda Station Dermot O’Connell paid tribute to her achievements and her unrelenting commitment to improving the policing environment.

As a former Chairman, Secretary and delegate of the Kerry Branch, Sergeant Dermot O’Connell worked closely with Antoinette in AGSI for many years.

“Her support for members of the Association was second to none. Antoinette always pursued what was right and just. Her ability, knowledge and professionalism was acknowledged both internally and externally by other representative bodies and also professional bodies,” he said.

“When Antoinette arrived here at her first station, the late Jack McGrath was the Sergeant In Charge.”
“As many know Sergeant Jack McGrath frequently walked the beat. During this time Jack shared much of his experience with Antoinette who proved her ability as a competent Garda to Sergeant Jack McGrath. “
“Jack was very impressed by her ability even at that early stage, he always spoke highly of Antoinette and followed her career path with great interest.”

Antoinette subsequently transferred to Limerick (Roxboro Road and Mayorstone Garda Stations). As a Sergeant she moved to the Garda College and completed a Master’s Degree in Adult Learning and a BA in Training and Education.
In 2021 Antoinette was honoured by University Galway with an Alumni Award for her significant contribution in the field of policing.

She became the first female member to serve with the Association of Sergeants and Inspectors at Branch level, National Executive level, President, Deputy General Secretary and finally General Secretary.

“On behalf of the Kerry Branch of AGSI I wish Antoinette the very best in whatever the future holds for her and her family,” added Sergeant O’Connell.

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‘The Bumblebee1000’ Supercar event arriving in Killarney on Saturday

The ‘Bumblebee1000’ supercar run will arrive in Killarney around 5pm on Saturday. Around 40 supercars will leave Barberstown Castle in County Kildare on Saturday morning.After stops at Portlaoise Plaza (11am) […]

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The ‘Bumblebee1000’ supercar run will arrive in Killarney around 5pm on Saturday.

Around 40 supercars will leave Barberstown Castle in County Kildare on Saturday morning.
After stops at Portlaoise Plaza (11am) and Cashel Palace Hotel (1pm) the convoy will arrive the Europe Hotel and Resort at 5pm.
“’The Bumblebee1000’ is not just about horsepower and adrenaline rushes; it’s about making a difference. As participants roar through the countryside, they’ll also be driving towards a noble cause. This event is dedicated to raising awareness and funds for The Little Blues Heroes charity, supporting the children of the Little Blue Heroes, and making a positive impact on their lives,” said an event spokesperson.
“The Bumblebee1000” is not just a journey; it’s an experience that blends luxury, adventure, and philanthropy in a seamless fusion. Whether behind the wheel of a sleek supercar or a supporter cheering from the sidelines, everyone is invited to be part of this remarkable event.
The cars will depart the Europe Hotel and Resort at 10am on Sunday and will stop off at a charity cars and coffee event in Tarbert at 11am before finishing in Adare at around 2pm.

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