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Killarney man beats waiting lists with free soccer injury operation in Spain




A Killarney man has spoken about how he flew to Spain to get free treatment on a horror injury picked up in a hometown soccer derby game.

Rory O'Sullivan pictured the day after his operation at the Marina in Denia.

Dad-of-three Rory O’Sullivan (38), flew back to Kerry this week after undergoing surgery for the ACL injury at a hospital in the upmarket seaside city of Dénia.

The facility used by patients travelling with Healthcare Abroad is dubbed ‘the Irish hospital’ by Spanish locals because so many Irish patients now get treatment there.

Striker Rory was able to jump waiting lists at home under the European Union’s Cross-Border Directive, a decade-old scheme which allows patients from any EU country to avail of treatment in another EU country. The HSE here in Ireland reimburse the costs of the operation.

“The treatment I received in the HCB Hospital in Dénia was first class,” said Rory.

“It couldn’t have gone any better. I’d heard about the cross-border scheme from a friend and was advised to call Healthcare Abroad. They helped deal with all the forms and referrals from my GP and when I arrived in Alicante I was collected at the airport by an executive driver and taken to a lovely 4-star hotel for a couple of nights before surgery.

“I had a consultation with my surgeon who has performed so many similar operations before. I felt reassured straight away. The operation itself went very well. I didn’t feel a thing.”

Rory was injured 13 months ago while playing for Killarney Athletic against local rivals Killarney Celtic.

“It wasn’t even a tackle which caused the injury. I fell awkwardly when my foot went into a divot on the pitch. I could hear the ‘pop’ from it. Players on the Celtic team also heard it. I felt sick,” said the Killarney man.

“I was actually feeling really fit - fitter than I had ever been - so to pick up the injury was tough to take.”

Rory had a number of bookings with clinics in Ireland but work and family commitments and COVID led to various delays.

“The insurance I had only covered less than half of any surgery costs, so I began to look into it further and realised that the full cost of the operation I badly needed could be covered under the EU Cross Border Scheme,” said the data analyst.

“I just had to pay for my flights and the hotel, and the hotel was very cheap because of the arrangement they have with Healthcare Abroad.”

Rory, a UEFA-badged coach, is urging anyone with similar injuries to get a flight to Spain for fast-track surgery.

“It just makes sense,” he said.

“Your only costs are the Ryanair flights and hotel, which was 4-star and included breakfast and a four-course evening meal for an extra tenner. The sun was shining when I was there in early January and that just lifts you too.

“Healthcare Abroad meet patients at the airport before you leave and then their team picks you up in Spain and takes you to the hotel too. It really is first class. I am happy to talk to anyone about my experience if anyone wants to hear first-hand how it all works.”

Healthcare Abroad Ireland works alongside the HSE to assist patients through the Cross Border Scheme, helps to complete the paperwork and liaise with Irish GPs. Any treatment offered by the HSE can be treated abroad under the EU legislation. Details of some of the operations available can be found on

“We are delighted that Rory had a very successful operation and is now well on his way to a full recovery," a Healthcare Abroad spokesperson said. "We wish him every success too with his coaching in the time ahead.”



Killarney and District Motor Club members honoured by Motorsport Ireland

By Cormac Casey Several members of Killarney and District Motor Club were honoured at the Motorsport Ireland awards lunch in Dublin on Wednesday. The highlight of the event is the […]




By Cormac Casey

Several members of Killarney and District Motor Club were honoured at the Motorsport Ireland awards lunch in Dublin on Wednesday.

The highlight of the event is the announcement of the sport’s top awards.

Kilkenny’s Jack Brennan (19) was named Young Rally Driver of the Year, while Wexford native Jack Byrne was named Young Racing Driver of the Year and the International Driver of the Year award went to recently crowned FIA Junior World Rally Champion, William Creighton.

Muckross-based co-driver Noel O’Sullivan was presented with his Irish Tarmac Rally Championship winning trophy.

This year saw the introduction of the Motorsport Ireland President’s Awards which celebrate the achievements of  clubs and organisations.

Killarney and District Motor Club won in the innovation category for their work with their KDMC 2 initiative thanks to the efforts of the club’s vice chairman Mike O’Shea.

Rally Rescue teams were also recognised and the club’s Mike Cleary picked up an award for his role he played in what was a difficult year for rescue crew operators.

Tom O’Riordan, who looks after ambulance procurement on the club’s events, was presented with an FIA Volunteer Pin by Motorsport Ireland President Aiden Harper.

Killarney Advertiser Journalist Sean Moriarty was presented with an award for best use of of PR and media in 2023.


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Kerry Mental Health and Wellbeing Fest ‘thank you’ event at Brehon

Participation in the 2023 Kerry Mental Health and Wellbeing Fest has grown by more than 100% since 2020 with 98% of those who gave feedback saying they would attend similar […]




Participation in the 2023 Kerry Mental Health and Wellbeing Fest has grown by more than 100% since 2020 with 98% of those who gave feedback saying they would attend similar events again in 2024.

Feedback from more than 100 people who attended this year’s Fest events from 7th to 14th October was positive with 91% stating they were satisfied.
The Kerry Mental Health and Wellbeing Fest is held annually over the course of a week to highlight World Mental Health Day on October 10.
It aims to raise awareness of the available supports and services in Kerry as well as empower people to engage with the ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ through offering a dynamic and interactive programme of events.
99% percent of respondents, most of whom identified as female, said they would recommend the Fest to friends next year. Some key notes for improvement included a request for more events with wider variety throughout the county.
The Chair of the Interagency Steering Group, John Drummey from Kerry Mental Health Association, said: “We wish to extend a heartfelt thanks to event organisers, community groups, businesses, funders and partners that facilitated the Fest’s dynamic and interactive programme of events in 2023. We are encouraged to see such growth in numbers attending the Fest events with a 50% increase from 2022. We are already making plans for the Fest from 5 to 12t October 2024 and we are looking forward to building on this year’s successes. That said, there is always room for improvement and we would welcome suggestions for new events and activities.”
Many of the event organisers attended a ‘thank-you’ event at the Brehon Hotel, Killarney, courtesy of the Kerry Volunteer Centre to coincide with the annual International Volunteer Day, December 5.
The Kerry Mental Health and Wellbeing Fest was organised by an interagency steering group made up of local agencies that support wellbeing in our community.
The organising committee is a collaboration between Connecting for Life Kerry, Healthy Kerry, Kerry County Council, Kerry Recreation & Sports Partnership, the HSE, NEWKD, SKDP, Kerry Mental Health Association, Jigsaw Kerry, Munster Technological University/Kerry, KDYS, Kerry Volunteer Centre and Family Resource Centres throughout the county.

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