If it wasn’t for a fall from a horse, a Tuam man could have found himself with a much bigger problem than just a sore back.
Because after the horse riding incident Sean Carter suffered not only backache, but also noticed a pain in his chest.
He went to see his company’s doctor after the fall, and the doctor asked him about his colouring. Confused, Sean questioned the doctor if he was an abnormal colour.
The doctor told him he was a bronzy-grey and that he would do one more test to check it out.
Because of the doctor’s observations Sean, who was 45 year old at the time, was diagnosed with haemochromatosis.
Haemochromatosis, or commonly known as the Celtic Mutation, is a genetic condition where a person absorbs an excessive amount of iron from their diet.
The iron is then stored in the body and it affects the liver, heart, pancreas, endocrine glands and causes pain in the joints.
The iron overload can lead to impaired function of those organs and eventually result in disease and organ failure.
Shockingly, more people in Ireland are affected by the disorder than in any other part in the world. About one in 86 people in Ireland have haemochromatosis, but one in five people carry the gene.
Since iron can build up slowly, symptoms might not appear until people hit 30 or 40 years old.
One indication of haemochromatosis is chronic fatigue, but when Sean experienced tiredness he just thought it came with his age.
“I would be nodding off while watching a rugby game even though I really wanted to watch the game. I thought it was just because I was in my forties,” he said.
Other indications include skin pigmentation, abdominal pain, arthritis and diabetes.
Since many of the symptoms can be found in other disorders, when arthritis affects just the first two finger joints there’s a high probability that it is haemochromatosis, according to the Irish Haemochromatosis Association
If the disorder is caught early, the treatment is rather simple. A person gives blood a few times a year for life to remove the excess iron.
However, since Sean caught his later in his life he gave 65 pints of blood in just 70 weeks, but now he’s down to giving the normal amount.
Since Sean’s wife is a carrier of the gene, Sean made sure his four children were tested to see if they had the disorder.
One of them tested positive, but fortunately it was caught early enough that his son only had to give blood a few times a year.
Sean, who is now 66, said it’s incredible how many he knows who have the disorder. Since it’s so common he finds important to educate the community.
“When we first started creating awareness about ten years ago people looked over and asked what haemochromatosis was. They couldn’t even pronounce it,” Sean said.
“Now people know about it because maybe their parents or someone has it. So we asked if they and their brothers and sisters have gotten tested and they haven’t.”
Since it’s a very simple test, Sean believes people should get tested for their own health.
Teenager caught with €20,000 worth of cannabis
A teenager was stopped and searched by Gardaí in Eyre Square on Monday evening, and found in possession of an estimated €20,000 worth of cannabis.
Members of the Galway Divisional Drugs Unit stopped the man, aged in his late teens, at around 6pm and searched him under the Misuse of Drugs Act. During the search the man was found in possession of a €20,000 of suspected cannabis herb. The drugs seized will be sent for forensic analysis.
He was arrested and detained at Garda Headquarters in Renmore and was released from custody this morning. A file is now being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Level 5 ‘lockdown’ restrictions from midnight Wednesday
‘Crass stupidity’ to allow Leisureland close
The looming threat of closure for Leisureland after Christmas amounts to “crass stupidity” and requires an urgent commitment for funding from Government, according to a local TD.
Deputy Catherine Connolly told the Galway City Tribune she had raised the issue in the Dáil with the Minister of State for Local Government and he had expressed an openness to meeting with a delegation from City Hall in relation to the City Council-owned facility’s dire financial situation.
“It’s simply not acceptable that a public swimming pool would close when we have the Minister for Finance announcing a budget of €18 billion this week – that’s Monopoly money.
“We have €18 billion to dispense and the challenge is to do that in a way that ensures a basic level of services below which we cannot go, and that requires funding the local authority. The local authority is fundamental in any civilised society, as are the services it provides,” said the Independent Deputy.
Raising the issue in Leinster House, Deputy Connolly said that Leisureland was an excellent public facility that had been open since 1973 and had broke even for the last number of years, but had run into major funding shortfalls as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.
“It is a fantastic swimming pool. I must declare a conflict of interest as I use it every weekend, It helps to keep me semi-sane and semi-fit.
“No public swimming pool makes money and few of them break even. This pool needed money due to Covid-19 and the difficulties experienced by every public swimming pool in the country. The management in the City Council said it was not in a position to give it money and that the swimming pool would have to close,” said Deputy Connolly, adding that the decision had been made and staff were informed.
Due to public pressure and resistance from local councillors, the decision was reversed and €207,000 in funding had been provided by the Council Executive.
“However, it pointed out that the money was coming out of next year’s budget, so it could not continue, and it would not be in a position to fund it.
“I do not expect miracles, but I expect commitment from the Minister and the Government that, regardless of what happens, we are not going to close public swimming pools or public libraries. They are essential services,” said Deputy Connolly.
She said €2.5 million in funding had been made available for “swimming pools with public access” in the private sector as part of the Government’s July Stimulus package, but nothing for publicly-owned facilities.
“It is very ironic if we are going to keep private swimming pools open once they have some limited access to the public, while we close down the public swimming pools,” she added.
Responding, Minister Peter Burke said his Department was keeping spending and cash flow at local authorities under constant review and would continue to work with Galway City Council to address issues.
“My Department is engaging with representatives of the local government sector and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on the financial challenges facing local authorities as a direct consequence of the pandemic, in terms of additional costs incurred as part of the local government response and decline in local authority income streams.
“I will do my very best with regard to the Deputy’s ask. I would be willing to meet a delegation from the City Council in connection with this issue. However, there are going to be significant asks emanating from this crisis. We are doing our very best to make what we have go as far as it can. It presents a major challenge,” said Minister Burke.