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Botox clinic planned for kids with palsy



Enable Ireland is bidding to establish the country’s first botox clinic dedicated solely to the treatment of children with spasticity – a common symptom of cerebral palsy.

The provision of such a service would be of benefit to over 30 children who currently receive care at the organisation’s Galway services centre, as well as an estimated 150 in the wider Connacht region.

The clinic, which would be based at their children’s services centre on the Seamus Quirke Road, would mean that families currently having to travel to Temple Street, Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin, or the Central Remedial Clinic in Dun Laoghaire – for a treatment that takes under five minutes to complete – could be cared for on their own doorstep.

To provide this service, the charity needs to raise €50,000 to purchase an ultrasound machine which enables those administering the injections to do so precisely and accurately.

Spasticity is the severe tightening of muscles and joints. It causes extreme discomfort and restricts mobility for those with the condition.

The injection of botulinum toxin injections into the muscles of children suffering with spasticity is life-enhancing and provides enormous relief by easing muscle contracture and preventing bone deformities.

Mary O’Gorman, an Enable Ireland volunteer, explained that the transportation of children with poor mobility to Dublin can be very distressing, especially given that they are not guaranteed that they will have the treatment when they get there.

This is due to the heavy caseload of these clinics, something which could be greatly reduced by the opening of a Galway centre.

“I believe that services should be available locally if at all possible and these families could benefit from reduced waiting times,” she said.

Children usually have this treatment done on a monthly or bi-monthly basis by a doctor. Mary pointed out that it is common practice in other countries to have the injections administered by specialised physiotherapists – with one such physiotherapist already based at the Galway centre.

“It has been the case in the past where various organisations in Galway have had the equipment first and then they don’t have the staff – we’re the opposite here in that we have the staff; we just need the ultrasound machine,” she said.

Some of the services provided by the organisation in Galway include a consultant paediatrician, an occupational therapist, a psychologist, a social worker and a speech and language therapist.

Adding a botox clinic to this would only improve the already outstanding standard of care they provide, but also allow medical professionals and families involved gain familiarity and build relationships.

Botox has been used in the treatment of medical conditions for over 20 years, for everything from migraines to, in this case, the relief of muscle contracture.

The €50,000 needed to purchase the ultrasound machine will be acquired through fundraising and it is hoped that people will give generously to improve lives and give comfort to children with disabilities.

“In the year of the 1916 commemorations, it would be great to help children with disabilities; let’s make Galway proud in 2016,” Mary said.

Donations can be made by dropping into Enable Ireland on the Seamus Quirke Road, in the Enable Ireland Charity Shop on High Street, or by visiting and clicking on ‘donate now’.

Connacht Tribune

West has lower cancer survival rates than rest



Significant state investment is required to address ‘shocking’ inequalities that leave cancer patients in the West at greater risk of succumbing to the disease.

A meeting of Regional Health Forum West heard that survival rates for breast, lung and colorectal cancers than the national average, and with the most deprived quintile of the population, the West’s residents faced poorer outcomes from a cancer diagnosis.

For breast cancer patients, the five-year survival rate was 80% in the West versus 85% nationally; for lung cancer patients it was 16.7% in the west against a 19.5% national survival rate; and in the West’s colorectal cancer patients, there was a 62.6% survival rate where the national average was 63.1%.

These startling statistics were provided in answer to a question from Ballinasloe-based Cllr Evelyn Parsons (Ind) who said it was yet another reminder that cancer treatment infrastructure in the West was in dire need of improvement.

“The situation is pretty stark. In the Western Regional Health Forum area, we have the highest incidence of deprivation and the highest health inequalities because of that – we have the highest incidences of cancer nationally because of that,” said Cllr Parsons, who is also a general practitioner.

In details provided by CEO of Saolta Health Care Group, which operates Galway’s hospitals, it was stated that a number of factors were impacting on patient outcomes.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Marathon Man plans to call a halt – but not before he hits 160 races



Loughrea’s Marathon Man Jarlath Fitzgerald.

On the eve of completing his 150th marathon, an odyssey that has taken him across 53 countries, Loughrea’s Marathon Man has announced that he is planning to hang up his running shoes.

But not before Jarlath Fitzgerald completes another ten races, making it 160 marathons on the occasion of his 60th birthday.

“I want to draw the line in 2026. I turn 57 in October and when I reach 60 it’s the finishing line. The longer races are taking it out of me. I did 20 miles there two weeks ago and didn’t feel good. It’s getting harder,” he reveals.

“I’ve arthritis in both hips and there’s wear and tear in the knees.”

We speak as he is about to head out for a run before his shift in Supervalu Loughrea. Despite his physical complaints, he still clocks up 30 miles every second week and generally runs four days a week.

Jarlath receives injections to his left hip to keep the pain at bay while running on the road.

To give his joints a break, during the winter he runs cross country and often does a five-mile trek around Kylebrack Wood.

He is planning on running his 150th marathon in Cork on June 4, where a group of 20 made up of work colleagues, friends and running mates from Loughrea Athletics Club will join him.

Some are doing the 10k, others are doing the half marathon, but all will be there on the finishing line to cheer him on in the phenomenal achievement.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Galway ‘masterplan’ needed to tackle housing and transport crises



From the Galway City Tribune – An impassioned plea for a ‘masterplan’ that would guide Galway City into the future has been made in the Dáil. Galway West TD Catherine Connolly stated this week that there needed to be an all-inclusive approach with “vision and leadership” in order to build a sustainable city.

Deputy Connolly spoke at length at the crisis surrounding traffic and housing in Galway city and said that not all of the blame could be laid at the door of the local authority.

She said that her preference would be the provision of light rail as the main form of public transport, but that this would have to be driven by the government.

“I sat on the local council for 17 years and despaired at all of the solutions going down one road, metaphorically and literally. In 2005 we put Park & Ride into the development plan, but that has not been rolled out. A 2016 transport strategy was outdated at the time and still has not been updated.

“Due to the housing crisis in the city, a task force was set up in 2019. Not a single report or analysis has been published on the cause of the crisis,” added Deputy Connolly.

She then referred to a report from the Land Development Agency (LDA) that identified lands suitable for the provision of housing. But she said that two-thirds of these had significant problems and a large portion was in Merlin Park University Hospital which, she said, would never have housing built on it.

In response, Minister Simon Harris spoke of the continuing job investment in the city and also in higher education, which is his portfolio.

But turning his attention to traffic congestion, he accepted that there were “real issues” when it came to transport, mobility and accessibility around Galway.

“We share the view that we need a Park & Ride facility and I understand there are also Bus Connects plans.

“I also suggest that the City Council reflect on her comments. I am proud to be in a Government that is providing unparalleled levels of investment to local authorities and unparalleled opportunities for local authorities to draw down,” he said.

Then Minister Harris referred to the controversial Galway City Outer Ring Road which he said was “struck down by An Bord Pleanála”, despite a lot of energy having been put into that project.

However, Deputy Connolly picked up on this and pointed out that An Bord Pleanála did not say ‘No’ to the ring road.

“The High Court said ‘No’ to the ring road because An Bord Pleanála acknowledged it failed utterly to consider climate change and our climate change obligations.

“That tells us something about An Bord Pleanála and the management that submitted such a plan.”

In the end, Minister Harris agreed that there needed to be a masterplan for Galway City.

“I suggest it is for the local authority to come up with a vision and then work with the Government to try to fund and implement that.”

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