Date Published: 30-Jun-2011
It was because he had such a tough start to life that Kieran Cunningham’s parents, Donie and Bernie, used to love seeing him excitedly run out the door for a night out in Galway with his friends and work-mates.
For a lad who sat his Leaving Certificate at 19, who had such a passion for hurling and kickboxing, he had been making up for lost time. Kieran had only begun socialising a few months before that fateful night in June 2009. He rushed in from his job in Hughes’ supermarket, the rap music blaring in the bedroom, had a quick shower, and sprinted down the hallway to wait for his lift into the city.
His job behind the deli-counter in Claregalway had opened up a whole new world of friends, nights out, and DVDs in work-mates’ houses for the Slieve Finn youngster. His father, who always enjoyed a good bit of banter with Kieran, could not get over how the job had transformed his 5’1” son’s life over the space of a year.
“When he got the job first, I thought he’d never stick it,” says Donie. “He’d have been lackadaisical. He would be smiling at you and tell you to go and get something yourself. But when he got behind that counter, something changed in him. He was a little flyer. He actually thrived on the job. It changed him. When he went behind the counter he was a totally different character. He was buzzing. He was so sharp, he’d remember exactly what people used to order from one week to the next.”
Donie used to keep a newspaper cutting from the Connacht Tribune in his wallet, from four years earlier. Still does. Kieran had lined out in a County U-16 final for Annaghdown. The little wing-back was the smallest man on the field, but scored 2-6 and walked away with the Man of the Match award. His dad was so proud.
Kieran arrived into this world three months premature, weighing less than two pounds. Bernie was lying in a coma in the Intensive Care Unit at University Hosptial Galway for ten days. The two of them were anointed by a priest that morning, 15 minutes apart. Donie met the priest as he made his way into the Premature Babies Unit at UHG. And he made a pact with God.
“The doctors pulled me aside when I went in to see him in the incubator,” says Donie. “They told me I would have to come to terms with the fact that we were going to lose him. They said ‘you can always have another child’. That morning I asked them could I open the porthole in the incubator. I just tickled him with my small finger. His hands were opened. He got a grip on my finger. And the grip that he had for that size!”
Donie described it as being like a ‘jump start’ of power. He told the doctors that he had not given up on his son. Within a couple of hours, tiny Kieran was taking drops of milk. “You don’t forget these things,” says his Dad.
For his first four or five years, Kieran had been constantly in and out of hospital. He got pneumonia twice and had a weak lung. He needed to use an inhaler to help him breathe. His parents used to listen to him coughing in the cot or bed at night, afraid that he might smother himself. When they would look in, though, he would just smile. Kieran never complained and, gradually, his health began to improve. By nine or ten, he was able for the battles on the Annaghdown hurling fields.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
Retail industry trade body welcomes B&Q announcement
Date Published: 07-May-2013
Retail Excellence Ireland, the country’s largest retail industry trade body, has welcomed the news that 60 jobs have been saved at the city branch of B&Q.
It’s after the home improvements store successfully exited examinership.
Under the scheme, 2.4 million euro is to be invested by parent company Kingfisher plc, and B and Q will continue to trade at eight stores
This means 640 jobs have been saved nationwide, including 60 at the outlet in Knocknacarra.
However, David Fitzsimons of Retail Excellence Ireland says landlords need to be willing to help out smaller retailers too.
Foundation reports nine Galway heart deaths each week
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Nine people die in Galway every week from heart disease and stroke.
That’s according to the Irish Heart Foundation, which is launching its Happy Hearts Appeal today. (9/5)
An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, launched the appeal today to help raise funds for the charity, which has seen increasing demand on its patient services.
The Foundation says it needs to raise at least half a million euro to maintain existing information services.
Call to tackle delays at Oranmore rail crossing
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Concerns have been raised over traffic delays at the railway crossing in Oranmore.
Councillor Jim Cuddy says he has received many representations from local motorists who have been experiencing extended delays.
He says the closed barrier can sometimes cause a traffic tailback as far as the roundabout near the Maldron hotel.
Cllr Cuddy has brought the matter to the attention of Iarnrod Eireann and has asked for an explanation as to why the crossing is closed for so long.