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Kerry writer helps raise awareness of arthritis

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A Kerry writer and geologist is sharing her personal story in a short film to raise awareness of a form of inflammatory arthritis that can take up to eight years to diagnose in Ireland.

Sneem-based novelist Amanda Geard (38) is supporting 'Back in Action', the new campaign from Arthritis Ireland, which aims to make people more aware of Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS).

The condition mainly affects the spine, but can also cause pain and/or swelling in the shoulders, hips, knees, heels, chest/ribs and small joints of the hands and feet. While back pain is very common in the general population, only a small percentage of people will have inflammatory arthritis of the spine.

Originally from Tasmania, but living in Kerry for several years, Geard was 19 when her symptoms began. What started out feeling like a pulled muscle intensified to the point where she felt there was a knife stabbing into her lower back.

“When every single minute of every day is spent in pain you do let a condition like this define you,” she said.

While diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis in Australia, she lived with chronic debilitating pain for 15 years before she finally found an effective treatment plan for managing her symptoms. Having moved to Ireland a number of years ago, she was referred to a consultant rheumatologist, which altered everything.

“It’s always a surprise every morning you wake up and you can get straight out of bed. My pain has decreased to the point that I could go for a run in the morning if I wanted to. That was completely unheard of for a decade and a half."

It’s not being more active that Geard has noticed but a difference in her quality of life. “By decreasing your pain, you can also at times be a little less mobile, so you are able to sit at a computer without the pain in your pelvis consuming your mind rather than what’s there in front of you.”

She has put that new freedom to good use in writing her first novel, which is due to be published next spring.

Support and information for people living with Ankylosing Spondylitis is available on the Arthritis Ireland website, www.arthritisireland.ieand via their helpline, 0818 252 846.

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Further rise in house prices forecast for 2022 as average price of a resale home in the capital reaches €500,000

According to the latest residential market review and outlook from leading property advisors DNG, house prices are set to continue rising this year, following the strong growth in values recorded in 2021. At a national level (excluding Dublin) the DNG National Price Gauge (NPG) recorded an increase in the average price of a second hand […]

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According to the latest residential market review and outlook from leading property advisors
DNG, house prices are set to continue rising this year, following the strong growth in values
recorded in 2021.

At a national level (excluding Dublin) the DNG National Price Gauge (NPG)
recorded an increase in the average price of a second hand home of 13.6% last year, a marked
acceleration in the rate of inflation compared to 2020 when prices rose by 1.4%.
At the national level (including Dublin) the overall rate of price increase last year stood at 12.0%. The NPG, which tracks house prices across the country on a half yearly basis, recorded growth of 5.3% in the six months to December 2021, compared to an increase of 7.9% in the first six months of last year.
All regions of Ireland recorded double digit price growth in 2021, except for Dublin (+9.9%).
Nationally, the strongest rate of house price appreciation was in the Mid-West region (+17.2%)
followed by the Midlands (+14.2%) and West (+13.8%) whilst the South East region saw the
lowest rate of growth in prices last year (+11.0%).
Outside the capital the highest average price was found in the Mid-East (€349,259) followed by the South West (€279,844).

Looking at the outlook for the year ahead, the agency forecasts further growth in prices both in
Dublin and nationally, with regional price gains set to outstrip those in the capital where nominal
values are already elevated, and affordability is more challenged.
The agency is forecasting an average uplift in regional markets of 12-13% this year whilst price growth in Dublin will more likely be high single digits, in the order of 6-8%.
The factors underpinning the forecasts include continued strong economic and wage growth, the heightened household savings levels seen in 2020-21, the extension of government initiatives for first time buyers announced in the budget, strong demand from this cohort evident in the mortgage approvals data and the prevailing low interest rate environment.
On the supply side, whilst the supply of new residential completions is set to increase to around 26,000 units this year, this will still be well below the estimated 30-35,000 new units required each year to meet demand thereby putting upward pressure on prices in the market.
“Whilst Covid-related issues rightly dominated the news agenda in 2021, housing undoubtedly came a close second, given the emotive nature of the housing debate and the current market dynamics of
rising house prices and rents and a shortage of accommodation available to buy or rent, not only
in Dublin but across the country.”, said DNG’s Director of Research Paul Murgatroyd said “Price growth was clearly very robust last year across all regions and the factors that drove those increases continue to be evident in the market as we enter 2022. The stock of homes for sale in the second hand market remains very low by historical standards and this, combined with the elevated level of demand, brought about in part by factors linked to changing behaviours throughout the pandemic, will mean further price appreciation will be evident as we progress through the year ahead.”

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Iarnrod Eireann refuses plans for footbridge at railway station

By Sean Moriarty Iarnrod Eireann will not be providing a footbridge to allow pedestrian’s access Killarney Bus Station direct from Killarney Railway Station. Following a motion put forward by Cllr John O’Dongohue last year it was decided that Kerry County Council would write to the railway company about building a footbridge to link the two […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Iarnrod Eireann will not be providing a footbridge to allow pedestrian’s access Killarney Bus Station direct from Killarney Railway Station.

Following a motion put forward by Cllr John O’Dongohue last year it was decided that Kerry County Council would write to the railway company about building a footbridge to link the two public transport hubs.

Currently rail passengers must walk from Killarney station, via the front entrance of the Great Southern Hotel and then walk the entire length of the Outlet Centre before reaching the bus station.

“It’s an anomaly that wouldn’t be tolerated in any other European country,” said Cllr O’Donoghue in November.

Iarnrod Eireann has responded to the letter sent shortly after the November meeting.

In reply the railway company said that in October 2019 it carried out a study which included the possibility of a either an underpass or a footbridge.

The study revealed that passenger would face a short four to five minute walk when trying to access one hub from another.

“Iarnrod Eireann would regard this as scheme as a low priority investment,” said chief executive Jim Meade in the letter.

Cllr Donoghue said the response was “ludicrous” and that he had often witnessed passengers lugging suitcases through the Outlet Centre.

“You would not jog it in five minutes,” he said.

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