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."
Develop skills and improve employability
By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors Traineeships are developed and delivered on an ongoing basis by Education and Training Boards (ETBs) nationwide and are open to potential participants of all ages and backgrounds including school leavers, mature learners and those in or seeking employment. Developed in partnership with industry representatives […]
By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors
Traineeships are developed and delivered on an ongoing basis by Education and Training Boards (ETBs) nationwide and are open to potential participants of all ages and backgrounds including school leavers, mature learners and those in or seeking employment.
Developed in partnership with industry representatives and employers, these programmes combine learning in the classroom with a minimum of 30 percent of learning on-the-job. The focus is on ‘learning on the go’ and developing perspectives that are in tune with the ever evolving world of work. They span across a range of industry sectors including business and retail, media, manufacturing, agriculture, horticulture and mariculture, care, construction, engineering, animal science, fashion and beauty, finance, ICT, hospitality, sports and leisure, and logistics.
At the core of the scheme is a strong collaboration with the ETBs in the provision of work-based learning opportunities on existing and new programmes. Traineeships lead to an award at Levels 4-6 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) and are between six to 24 months in duration. Over 75 programmes are available nationwide – although not all of them will be available nationally at all times – and the content, award and duration may vary. They are designed for flexible delivery to include online, face-to-face and blended learning.
Second level or higher education students who are interested in participating in a Traineeship Programme should contact their local ETB, adult learners should contact the Adult Education Guidance Service through their local ETB, and jobseekers will be able to access information through their local Intreo Office or Local Employment Service. For those currently unemployed, a training allowance or income support may be available. You can check out the range of opportunities offered through Traineeships nationwide on www.fetchcourses.ie and more locally check out the www.kerrycollege.ie.
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.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Return to work courses
Answer: Springboard+ provides free higher education courses for people who are unemployed (or were self-employed) and those looking to return to the workforce. Courses are offered in different areas including Information and Communications Technology (ICT), medical technologies, cybersecurity, sustainable energy and financial services. The courses range from certificate to master’s degree level – Levels 6 […]
Answer: Springboard+ provides free higher education courses for people who are unemployed (or were self-employed) and those looking to return to the workforce.
Courses are offered in different areas including Information and Communications Technology (ICT), medical technologies, cybersecurity, sustainable energy and financial services.
The courses range from certificate to master’s degree level – Levels 6 to 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). Most of the courses are part-time and last for one year or less, but there are some full-time courses.
You can access a free Springboard+ course, if you are getting a qualifying social welfare payment such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, Jobseeker’s Benefit or the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). You can get a full list of qualifying payments for Springboard+ on citizensinformation.ie
If you are not getting a qualifying social welfare payment, you will have to meet the residency criteria for Springboard+.
You can also apply for a Springboard+ course if:
* You are a qualified adult of working age (under 66) on someone else’s social welfare payment
* You are signing for social insurance credits
* You are on an employment support scheme such as Community Employment (CE) or TUS
To apply for a Springboard+ course, you choose the course(s) you are interested in on springboardcourses.ie and apply online, following the instructions on the website. You can apply for up to 10 courses, but you can only take one course.
If you are getting a social welfare payment, you should notify your Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office and check what further steps (if any) you need to take.
If Springboard+ doesn’t meet your needs, there are several other ways to go back to education.
During COVID-19, you can find comprehensive integrated information online at citizensinformation.ie/covid19/ and you can get daily updates on what’s changed on Twitter at @citizensinfo. You can also get information and advice from:
Tralee on Tel: Call 0761 07 7860, Monday – Friday (10am-4pm)
The Citizens Information Phone Service: Call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm
Our national call back service: Visit citizensinformation.ie/callback to request a phone call from an information officer
Develop skills and improve employability
By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors Traineeships are developed and delivered on an ongoing basis...
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Return to work courses
Answer: Springboard+ provides free higher education courses for people who are unemployed (or were self-employed) and those looking to return...
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