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Kidney patients living in fear call for overhaul of vaccine list



IN DANGER: Barth Flynn, attends dialysis at University Hospital Kerry three days a week. Contracting COVID-19 could be fatal for him or other kidney patients.


By Sean Moriarty


A local kidney patient has called for a complete overhaul of the COVID-19 vaccination list. On the current list, kidney and renal patients are Priority 7 and are grouped together with 18-65 year olds who suffer other health conditions.

Barth Flynn (37), attends dialysis at University Hospital Kerry three days a week. The Fossa man suffered kidney failure as a baby and the condition grew progressively worse in adulthood.

“Look at the rationale behind this, Priority 3 is for over 70s who are at a risk of hospitalisation or death,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “Any exposure to COVID-19 could be fatal to us too.”

Mr Flynn was not engaging in any sort of a "me first" attitude, he was speaking as the former director of nursing at Killarney Nursing Home and as someone who fully understands the pressure the Irish healthcare system is currently facing.

“The classes are too broad, in the 18-65 age group, a lot of these people are carers for other people, who will look after them if something should happen to the carer?” he added.

His wife Lorraine Friel is a nurse at Macroom Community Hospital.

“I don’t fancy my chances if I got sick with COVID-19,” he added. “Lorraine is very concerned that she might bring it in from the hospital. I am very concerned if that happened I could bring it into the dialysis unit in Tralee. I very much know the risks involved, it is very dangerous for me, but there is a lot of people over there a lot sicker than me and if I got it they could die.”


He has barely left his home in the last year as his condition is further complicated as a result of heart surgery last year – as his kidney illness caused damage to a valve in his heart.

He also suffers from a form of arthritis, another side effect of his kidney condition.

He was originally supposed to undergo heart surgery in November 2019 but that got delayed until July last year.

His 10 days in University Hospital Cork underlined what he already knew from his wife – that hospitals are under very serious pressure.

“One man on the same ward, he had his procedure cancelled three times, he was fasting and ready but the hospital needed the ICU beds after more [COVID-19] cases. He was in for a bypass,” said Barth.

The couple are parents to two boys, Josh (6), and Luke (2). Luckily for them her brother John effectively gave up his life, to care for the two children.

“John has been living with us for a year, when all this started he offered to come, it has had a big impact on him,” added Barth. “When I am at home after dialysis, I am too weak to look after the boys.”

He also called on people to obey the guidelines as any spike in COVID-19 cases puts him and other kidney patients at very real risk of death.

“We can see with these restrictions – they do work,” he said.

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Jim awarded for life-long service to the community

By Michelle Crean Listry local Jim O’Shea was honoured last week as members of the community council presented him with an award for his life-long service to the community. Jim […]




By Michelle Crean

Listry local Jim O’Shea was honoured last week as members of the community council presented him with an award for his life-long service to the community.

Jim received the O’Shea Award for 2022 at a meeting of Directors of Listry Community Council held on September 21.

Jim has been involved in Athletics from a very early age both as a competitor and administrator.

He was very much involved with Community Games in Milltown/Listry as organiser and coach. He was also involved with the Farranfore Maine Valley Athletic Club since its foundation.

Over the years Jim has competed in athletic events, mainly high jump and long jump, both in Ireland and abroad.

Recently he travelled to Derby in the UK in the British Masters Championship and won Gold in the 100 metres and Long Jump and finished second in the High Jump.

Jim, who is a very modest man, was actively involved with Listry Community Council as a volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels and for his commitment to keeping our community litter free by organising a number of litter picking days each year.

Always interested in fitness, Jim often came along to the Listry Seniors Social day and led the group in gentle exercises.

“Jim is a very worthy recipient of the O’Shea Award 2022 and we thank him for a lifetime of service to others,” Tony Darmody, Chairman, said.

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New book recounts stories from the Irish Civil War

The killing of 17-year-old Bertie Murphy in Killarney in September 1922 Historian and author, Owen O’Shea recounts one of the most shocking murders of the Civil War which occurred in […]




The killing of 17-year-old Bertie Murphy in Killarney in September 1922

Historian and author, Owen O’Shea recounts one of the most shocking murders of the Civil War which occurred in Killarney a century ago this week.

There were many tragic episodes and incidents during the Civil War in Kerry. One of the dreadful features of the conflict was the young age at which many on both sides of the conflict were killed in 1922 and 1923.

In Killarney in August 1922, for example, two young Free State army medics were shot dead by a sniper as they stepped off a boat onto the shore of Inisfallen Island. 18-year-old Cecil Fitzgerald and 20-year-old John O’Meara, both from Galway, had joined the army just a few months previously and were enjoying a boat trip on the lake during a day’s leave when they were killed.

The following month, one of the most shocking deaths to occur in Killarney in this period was the murder of a 17-year-old boy from Castleisland.

Bertie Murphy, a member of Fianna Éireann, the youth wing of the IRA, was just 17-years-old when he was taken into custody by Free State soldiers while walking near his home in September 1922. His mother saw him being taken in away in a truck to the Great Southern Hotel where the army had established its headquarters in the town.

The improvised barracks had a number of prison cells in the basement where anti-Treaty IRA members were detained. The prison would become renowned as a place where beatings and torture took place: a young man whose brother was an IRA captain was taken there and ‘mercilessly beaten to get him to reveal information’. He was then ‘thrown down a coal chute and left as dead’.

On Wednesday, September 27, a Free State army convoy was ambushed by the IRA at Brennan’s Glen on the Tralee road and two officers, Daniel Hannon and John Martin, were killed. Bertie Murphy had been in one of the army vehicles – he was being used by the army as a hostage in an attempt to prevent attacks by anti-Treaty forces. It was common for Free State convoys to carry a prisoner as a deterrent to IRA ambushes and attacks.

When the convoy returned to the hotel, they were met by Colonel David Neligan, one of the most ruthless members of the Kerry Command of the Free State army. Neligan had been a member of Michael Collins’ ‘Squad’ during the War of Independence and was an experienced and battle-hardened soldier.

Neligan demanded to know why the soldiers had not taken any prisoners during the ambush at Brennan’s Glen, in which two of his officers had died. The soldiers, in a frenzy following the ambush, threw Bertie Murphy down the steps of the hotel. In the presence of other soldiers, Neligan began to beat up Murphy at the bottom of the steps and then shot the prisoner. In her book, ‘Tragedies of Kerry’, Dorothy Macardle says that Murphy lived ‘until the priest came’, but died shortly after.

Another prisoner was in custody in the hotel at the time. Con O’Leary from Glenflesk was brought down from his cell to identify the dead man. But so extensive were Murphy’s facial injuries that O’Leary was unable to identify his fellow prisoner.

Newspaper reports wrongly reported that Murphy had been wounded during the engagement at Brennan’s Glen and had ‘succumbed to his injuries’ on returning to Killarney.

At Murphy’s inquest which was held a fortnight later, General Paddy O’Daly, the head of the Kerry Command, sympathised with Murphy’s family but insisted that Murphy had died in the ambush at Brennan’s Glen. He said his soldiers had done ‘everything humanly possible for the man’.

He reminded those present that deaths like Murphy’s were the fault of reckless IRA leaders who refused to accept the authority of the people. ‘It is the women and children’, he said, ‘that are suffering, and for all the suffering that is being endured those leaders are to blame’.

It would not be the last time that O’Daly and senior army officers in Kerry would cover up the actions of their soldiers in the county. Nor, sadly, would it be the last time that young men, on both sides of the divide, joined the long list of victims of the Civil War in the county.

Owen O’Shea’s new book, ‘No Middle Path: The Civil War in Kerry’ will be published by Merrion Press in mid-October and can be pre-ordered now on Amazon and at

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