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Ronan’s video campaign gets almost 200,000 views

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CAMPAIGN: Staff from St Oliver's NS and supporters pictured with Ronan Foley, his dad Tony, mom Caroline and brother Gavin, as they hope the online video will highlight his campaign nationally. Photo: Michelle Crean

By Michelle Crean

A huge social media drive - which includes a video filmed at a local Killarney school - has clocked up over 200,000 views in days - in a bid to put pressure on the HSE for urgent surgery for local lad Ronan Foley - who is suffering from scoliosis.

 

Ronan, born with cerebral palsy, has just finished up at St Oliver's National School.

In 2018 he had a 42 degree curvature of the spine which significantly worsened to 79 degrees within a short space of time. Now it's at a 90 degree curve in his spine and Ronan's family were promised that he was priority for surgery but is still waiting two years later.

He is in constant pain as his condition has deteriorated so much. He finds it hard to sit up for short periods, while travel to and from Dublin for appointments in Crumlin hospital leaves him is agony.

School staff who taught the 14-year-old for many years, gathered with Ronan and his family as local photographer Ian Cronin filmed a video outside the school to highlight his plea on a national level.

The video 'RonansOpNow' is on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and those behind the video say that they want the public to follow his story, like posts, share it, retweet it, comment and use #ronansopnow to help spread the message far and wide.

 

Healy-Rae keeps pressure on Ronan's case

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae this week told the Killarney Advertiser that he is keeping the pressure on the HSE regarding Ronan Foley's case.

As late as Wednesday this week he said that he had received correspondence from the HSE and that he has been in touch with Ronan's father Tony.

"The new Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly came back to me and said that he's looking into it," Deputy Healy-Rae told the Killarney Advertiser.

"No child in our country should be left in agony like this," he said, saying especially as it's something that can be solved with surgery.

"The boy is in pain and I'm ashamed that we've a health system that allows someone in pain when he doesn't have to be. Hopefully we'll have some good news soon."

 

 

Last week the Killarney Advertiser reported on Ronan's case and it was shared out online over 200 times via Facebook. TD Michael Healy-Rae raised Ronan's case in the Dáil, while new Minister for Education Norma Foley has also promised to look into it.

"We're delighted with the traction it has gotten so far," Noel O'Sullivan, who works at St Oliver's and put the final video footage together, told the Killarney Advertiser.

"All we'd ask is to appeal to people to share the video and promote the campaign so it gets the kind of numbers that will get national attention. We're hoping this will put pressure on the HSE to discourage them from postponing Ronan's operation yet again."

Josephine Doncel, who taught Ronan, said that they're very grateful to have Ian Cronin help produce the video and get the excellent footage with his drone camera.

"We were also lucky enough to have Irish actor Frank O'Sullivan narrate the story so effectively in the video and we appreciate him giving his time to do this for Ronan."

But of course Ronan is still waiting and there is no end in sight for him. His parents, Tony and Caroline, are finding the lack of transparency and information on what is happening with his operation particularly distressing.

"It is amazing in such a large organisation like the HSE or even Crumlin hospital itself no one can tell them where he is on the waiting list and how he has gone from being scheduled for the operation on March 12, to it being cancelled six days before he was to have it and now not having any idea when the operation will be. We need the help of everyone to support our social media campaign and to call on the powers that be whether they are politicians or the HSE to arrange for #RonansOpNow."

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County Board open to GAA museum proposals

By Sean Moriarty The Kerry County GAA Board said it would operate “an open door policy” for any plans to build a GAA museum in the county. There have been talks at a political level to build such a museum in Kerry with political rivals in Killarney and Tralee both pushing for it to be built […]

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By Sean Moriarty

The Kerry County GAA Board said it would operate “an open door policy” for any plans to build a GAA museum in the county.

There have been talks at a political level to build such a museum in Kerry with political rivals in Killarney and Tralee both pushing for it to be built in their home town.

Before he retired from politics in April, Michael Gleeson was campaigning to build a GAA and cultural museum on the grounds of Fitzgerald Stadium.

His campaign goes back several years before the recession set in, with a €0.5 million bridging loan secured from Croke Park along with funding from Fáilte Ireland. That funding was lost with the onset of the recession before 2010.

Tim Murphy, the outgoing chairman of the Kerry County Board, has confirmed to the Killarney Advertiser that no approaches have been made to the County Board at executive level during his five year stint at the helm.

However, he said the Board would be open to such approaches provided there is sound financial planning behind the project in place.

“The first and most important aspect is the capital funding and my understanding is there needs to be Fáilte Ireland funding in place first,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “If it gets up and running, there needs to be very clear talks with all stakeholders so everyone knows each others expectations. A museum attracts footfall, but it costs a lot of money to run. We would offer an open door policy to all proposals but funding, first from a capital point of view and then from an operational point of view, will need to be in place.”

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Loreto pupils are happy to help save the planet

By Michelle Crean School pupils are fast becoming the next generation of environmentalists thanks to a brand new litter-picking campaign. Happy to help save the planet one bit of litter at a time are the children from Scoil Bhríde, Loreto NS, who are currently partaking in the Picker Pal Programme. It’s all about taking on […]

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By Michelle Crean

School pupils are fast becoming the next generation of environmentalists thanks to a brand new litter-picking campaign.

Happy to help save the planet one bit of litter at a time are the children from Scoil Bhríde, Loreto NS, who are currently partaking in the Picker Pal Programme.

It’s all about taking on a litter-picking adventure in their local area as well as learning songs, reading storybooks, filling in activity books while witnessing that their real-world actions are making a positive difference and inspiring others to join the movement.

Picker Pals is a unique primary school programme that gives children the tools and motivation to become the next generation of environmentalists, teacher Claire O’Meara explained.

“The Picker Pal Programme is a fantastic initiative and will go a long way to raise awareness of the impact litter has on our environment,” she told the Killarney Advertiser.

Real litter-picking is motivated by a Picker Pack made from upcycled dinghy sails and containing adult and child litter-picking tools, gloves, hi-vis vests and safety information.

“This pack is then taken home by a different pupil every week. That child takes their adult on a litter-picking adventure. The children then tell the story of their litter-picking adventures through art and writing. Raising awareness is an essential part of the solution to littering. Picker Pals gives young people the tools and positive motivation to steward their local environment and make the world a better place.”

The programme, run by environmental NGO VOICE Ireland, is funded by the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and various local authorities across Ireland.

Now in its third year of operation, over one thousand schools all across Ireland will be taking part in the Picker Pals programme this year. In Kerry, 29 schools are taking part, and Scoil Bhríde, Loreto is delighted to be included, she added.

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