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“It’s hard to find words to express how grateful and thankful I am” 

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More than €375,000 raised so far for Ian O’Connell

BY MICHELLE CREAN

Killarney teenager Ian O’Connell - who has been left incapacitated from the neck down following a cycling accident last year - this week thanked the public for helping raise a whopping €375,000.

This week Ian (17), who will shortly be moving to a new specially adapted home in Killarney with his family, said that he still has bad days but is overwhelmed with the massive support he has received since his accident, on August 16, 2017.

"It's hard to find words to express how grateful and thankful I am for everyone's support and fundraising,” Ian, who is back to school as a fifth year in St Brendan’s College, told the Killarney Advertiser.

"It's honestly mind blowing to see the generosity from people when something crazy and unexpected like this happens to somebody. I couldn't be so positive without the support and kind messages I receive on a day to day basis.”

This week, a fundraising committee, formed in Spa in September 2017 to assist the teen, also thanked the people and numerous organisations for their generosity.

"The overall success of this venture has been extraordinary. Our committee are overwhelmed by the response," committee Chairman James Gleeson, of Spa GAA club, said.

"With his positivity of outlook and his keen intellect, we feel there are very few limits to what Ian can achieve in the academic world."

The fundraising started in October 2017 with a special Lotto for Ian, in the Torc Hotel, Killarney, and it proved to be a major success.

Subsequently, there were many other fundraising events, as well as inclusion as a nominated charity in the 2018 Ring of Kerry Cycle. There was the marvellous contribution of the management and staff of Killarney Park Hotel and of Denis Geaney, who organised Team Geaney for the cycle.

The All-Ireland GAA Golf Challenge, in Nuremore, Co Monaghan, had Ian as the beneficiary, from which he got a car specially adapted to his needs. Waterford man Liam Daniels and MEP Sean Kelly played key roles in this.

"It is a testament to the inspiration provided by Ian himself and his parents, Nora and Mick, and their extended families; to the wonderful generosity of so many groups and clubs (GAA and others), community enterprises, societies, charitable organisations, schools and, of course, the many individuals who contributed so generously,’’ said the Spa Fundraising Committee in a statement.

"At the moment, more than €375,000 has been raised in this phase of fundraising. As all our expenses have been covered by generous sponsorship, all money raised has been lodged in a Trust Fund for Ian.

"This fund is administered by three trustees, namely Deirdre O'Sullivan Darcy, Ivor Flynn and Tadhg Hickey. We are indeed fortunate to have people of their calibre willing to carry out this function.

"Our committee will take a break from active fundraising for now, but we will monitor Ian's progress in the future and be available to assist in any way. The Trust Fund account is of course still open and the trustees will be available to assist with any queries. Finally, can we again express our deep gratitude to everyone who helped make this campaign the success it was.’’

 

[caption id="attachment_23836" align="aligncenter" width="3000"] Ian O'Connell and his father Michael O'Connell pictured at Spa GAA Club with from left, Michael Gleeson, Deirdre O'Sullivan Darcy, Michael Cronin (Spa GAA Club Chairman), Jim Gleeson (Trust Fund for Ian Chairman) and Ivor Flynn. Picture: Eamonn Keogh[/caption]

 

 

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Lissi’s love of nature nets prize

After a successful launch year in the Isle of Man in 2020, ‘The Young Nature Blogger 2021’ went international as Kerry Biosphere and Dublin Bay Biosphere joined the competition. Open to anyone under 21, entrants were asked to write up to 500 words about their favourite experience or place in nature. Each Biosphere participating awarded […]

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After a successful launch year in the Isle of Man in 2020, ‘The Young Nature Blogger 2021’ went international as Kerry Biosphere and Dublin Bay Biosphere joined the competition.

Open to anyone under 21, entrants were asked to write up to 500 words about their favourite experience or place in nature.

Each Biosphere participating awarded local prizes with the top entry from each being submitted to the international competition between the three.

This week the two judges for the international element Author Dara McAnulty and Professor Martin Price, Chair of the UK Man and the Biosphere Committee, have unanimously chosen ‘The Otter’ by Lissi Nickelsen (Kerry) as winner of the inter-Biosphere Young Nature Blogger 2021.

“I absolutely love the observational detail in this piece,” Dara McAnulty, author of ‘Diary of a Young Naturalist’ and the youngest ever winner of The Wainright Prize for nature writing said:

“You can really feel that breathless excitement and tension of seeing an otter. The drawing shows how multimedia can be used to great effect in a blog.”

Professor Martin Price added that it “is a beautifully written blog about a very special encounter”.

“I really get the feeling of what Lissi observed so carefully, and her joy about spending time with an otter! And the drawing is wonderful too!”

Lissi will receive a young naturalist writing set from Dara McNulty, a framed otter picture from Wildlife photographer Vincent Hyland, Wild Derrynane, and a family kayak trip in the Kerry Biosphere.

The winning entry can be read on the Kerry Biosphere website www.kerrybiosphere.ie/news.

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The only certainty is uncertainty

By Michael O’Connor    “History is just one damn thing after another” – Arnold Toynbee Late last week, the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant in South Africa sent shockwaves worldwide, upending what had been a reasonably quiet week for the stock market. On Friday last, a steep sell-off left the S&P 500 and the […]

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By Michael O’Connor   

“History is just one damn thing after another” – Arnold Toynbee

Late last week, the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant in South Africa sent shockwaves worldwide, upending what had been a reasonably quiet week for the stock market. On Friday last, a steep sell-off left the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq down 2.2% and 3.5%, respectively.

This 147th twist in the pandemic tale got me thinking about how much we think we know when really, we know nothing at all.

At the start of the year nobody would have predicted that 2020 would have played out the way it did. Very few would have predicted that 2021, with promising vaccines and a return to normality would have represented so little change, but here we are.

Everyone loves to pretend like they fully understand what this all means and what will happen next. I get it; who doesn’t love the warm cozy allure of certainty. We all want to exist in a world where we know what lies around the corner.

History is a perpetual stream of mistaken opinions and unpredictable outcomes, but the predictions won’t stop. People will cast their views with deluded certainty about what to expect next by extrapolating the current conditions out into the future, but the current conditions aren’t a constant, and the game is always changing.

Unfortunately, the reality is, nobody knows what’s next, and the sooner you can discard any naive sense of conviction, the easier it will be in both life and investing. While this statement may seem morbid on the surface, loosening our grip on our need for certainty can be liberating.

Remember, while it is important to have expectations and predictions, predictions are not fact, and you will be wrong. Not always, but you will be wrong, so try not to be overly tethered to your current version of the truth.

Lean into the uncertainty

Accepting that nothing is certain can often be cast as an impotent statement in a world obsessed with knowing all the answers.

In an industry where uncertainty is the ultimate enemy, telling investors to submit to it is often met with disdain, but accepting the inevitability of uncertainty is so important if you want to avoid going stir crazy as you try and hold for the long term.

Of course, discarding uncertainty is easier said than done. Worrying about factors beyond our control is an inherent part of the human condition. However, simply being aware that the game is not predictable and nobody truly knows the final outcome may help you reduce your craving for certainty.

My advice

Stop reaching for perfection in a world of constant uncertainty. Stop obsessing about making the right decision one hundred percent of the time. Even the best investors in history have had their fair share of howlers. Ultimately you just need to be right more often than you are wrong.

The solution

Create an investment portfolio centred around what you believe to be the most probable outcome based on available information and incorporate enough diversification to function as a buffer.

In a world where anything is possible, all you can do is focus on what is most probable, allow for a margin of error to support you when your assumed outcomes don’t play out and simply let go of the rest.

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