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.
Killarney Advertiser – Weekly Jobs Round-Up
€500k to help re-start Killarney’s live music scene
By Sean Moriarty A number of Killarney venues were elated this week to learn that funding to the tune of €500k has been announced to help re-start the town’s live music scene. Of the €1,001,944 in funding announced this week for the county Killarney is to receive over half with funds to assist the Gleneagle […]
By Sean Moriarty
A number of Killarney venues were elated this week to learn that funding to the tune of €500k has been announced to help re-start the town’s live music scene.
Of the €1,001,944 in funding announced this week for the county Killarney is to receive over half with funds to assist the Gleneagle Hotel Killarney/INEC Arena, Celtic Steps The Show, Scott’s Hotel, and Courtney’s Bar.
The funding, announced by Minister for Education and Kerry TD Norma Foley on Tuesday, is in place to assist commercial venues, producers and promoters in Kerry to plan live events over the summer months.
The scheme, managed by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media will support live performances, particularly where capacity for live attendance is restricted due to COVID-19.
The funding will make live performances viable or alternatively make them available online if audiences cannot attend due to restrictions.
“I welcome this funding which will provide an enormous boost to the live entertainment industry in Kerry,” Minister Foley said.
“This money will help to facilitate the delivery of exciting programmes of activities over the coming summer and autumn period. This funding will also provide a vital lift to those talented performers, artists, technicians, creative and performance support staff across the sector, who have not been able to work due to the pandemic.”
Four venues and promoters in Killarney will receive a total of €560,646 in grant aid to help re-start the live music and performing arts industries in the town after months of lockdown.
The Gleneagle Hotel Killarney/INEC Arena will receive €380,822 for live music shows and for the pre-recording of live material from acts of the future.
“We are delighted with this week’s announcement on funding,” Mark Egan, Director of the Gleneagle INEC Arena told the Killarney Advertiser. “We can now look ahead to implementing a programme of events that will provide employment for performers, artists, technicians and support staff many of whom have not had work for months. We have a fantastic, diverse programme in the pipeline and we can’t wait to get the various artists, crews and event suppliers back on site and back to the work we all love. We thank Minister Catherine Martin and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media for making this grant available.”
Celtic Steps The Show will receive €84,627 to allow it livestream performances from its Killarney Racecourse Theatre.
For Celtic Steps producer/director David Rae the funding presents more than just an opportunity to get the show back on the road. He will create 43 paid positions from dancers and musicians to sound and lighting engineers and even a COVID-19 Compliance Officer.
He is awaiting further guidance on permission to allow a limited audience attend a Celtic Steps performance but he hopes by early July to have a series of online performances up and running.
“This is what it is all about, getting these people back to work after so long being unemployed,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “I will need all of these people, from two days before I start to two days after, it is almost like building a festival from scratch and we can’t thank the minister and department enough for this chance.”
Scott’s Hotel will receive the same figure as Celtic Steps for live performances for tourists across the summer.
Courtney’s Bar on Plunkett St will receive €10,570 for a number of gigs that will feature local musicians.
“This is fantastic news,” manager Brian Murphy said. “We have been associated with live music in Killarney for a long time so we are delighted to get the funding and allow live music to continue.”
Like Celtic Steps, he is still waiting for confirmation on the format of the funded gigs.
“It is hard to see a bar gig with an audience going ahead but one of the stipulations of the grant is that if we cannot do a live gig under current guidelines, we have to do it online.”
Possible return to campus for college students
By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors
The announcement by the Department of Education this week, that the Leaving Cert results will be issued on Friday, September 3, was followed by confirmation from the Central Applications Office that CAO Round 1 offers will be issued online, four days later on Tuesday, September 7 at 2pm.
This is about three weeks later than normal, although it is earlier than the 2020 dates. Coinciding with the release of these dates comes the news from Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris, that it is the priority of Government to get college students back on campus for the 2021/2022 academic year. Because of the later issue of Leaving Cert results and CAO offers, this means that First Year students will start college a couple of weeks later than those who are returning to college in Second, Third and Fourth Year.
From the point of social distancing, the staggered start may be an advantage, as we will still be living with certain restrictions due to COVID-19. There are a number of contributing factors what will influence a safe and successful return to the college campus for students according to Minister Harris. They include the roll-out and take-up of vaccinations in the college-age cohort by September, the use of rapid testing on campus which has been run as a pilot in several universities this year, and a varied approach to face-to-face lectures. It is hoped that smaller classes, practicals and tutorials can be operated as before with social distancing while the larger lectures may need to be facilitated using a blended approach. It is also felt that if cafés, restaurants and bars are open everywhere else, there is no reason why they can’t open on campus. This of course is all based on vaccinations and public health guidelines.
A big concern for First Year students following the announcements is the fact that they will be looking for accommodation later than all other students. This is an issue every single year because when CAO offers are issued, many students get offers for colleges in locations where they have not secured accommodation. Naturally it is of particular concern to rural students and mirrors a greater societal shortage of accommodation. Minister Harris has also stated that he is bringing a proposal to Cabinet in the coming weeks to implement legislation which means that the owners of purpose-built student accommodation will only be allowed to charge rents a month in advance rather than insisting on payment of rent for half of the college year, something which has put enormous strain on students and their families over the years.
So, while any kind of certainty surrounding a return to ‘normal’ college life isn’t possible, it is both hopeful and exciting for new and returning college students to be able to look forward to the next college year with the prospect of getting to enjoy a real college experience and all that has to offer.
I will be hosting a free webinar for Leaving Cert parents on June 16 at 7pm on ‘How to help your son/daughter with CAO Change of Mind and other career options’ ahead of the CAO deadline on July 1.
To register see links on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram: @mycareerplan or email me on email@example.com.
Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant. For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
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