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Fall from a horse leads to more serious diagnosis



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.


Councillors back bid to ban city centre parking in Galway



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors have unanimously agreed to ask Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to limit parking to residents only in the city centre.

Pedestrians in the city are being treated like second-class citizens, according to the Mayor, who said cars continued to get the priority on Galway’s streets.

At a meeting of the City Council this week, Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) said the city had come to a standstill in car traffic, and pedestrians and cyclists were suffering the consequences.

“At junctions, why am I a second-class citizen in my own city as a pedestrian? It rains in Galway for 300 days of the year, but I am a second-class citizen when priority is given to motorists.

“It’s always the pedestrian that waits,” she said, hitting out at the length it took to get a green light to cross at pedestrian crossings.

One way to reduce the number of cars in the city centre would be to limit parking to residents only in the city centre, said the Mayor.

In a motion she proposed, seconded by Cllr Mike Cubbard (Ind), councillors unanimously agreed to write to the Minister for Transport to demand he pass the necessary legislation to enable the Council to do this.

The Mayor said residents were “sick, sore and tired” of people parking where they wanted when they visited the city and said despite a desire to introduce this measure going back almost 20 years, the Council was hamstrung by national legislation that prevented them from proceeding.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Planners approve homes for ‘cuckoo fund’ investor



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The green light has been given for the construction of 345 apartments at the Crown Square site in Mervue – the majority of which will be put on the rental market and operated by a ‘cuckoo fund’ for a minimum of fifteen years.

Crown Square Developments, which is owned by developer Padraic Rhatigan, has secured permission from An Bord Pleanála for the ‘Build to Rent’ development, with four blocks ranging ranging from four to nine storeys in height.

There will also be a neighbourhood facility with a gym, a primary care medical centre with pharmacy, a ‘working from home’ lounge, six shops, a games room and a creche.

There will be 240 two-bed apartments, 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds, all of which will be specifically for the rental market and not available to purchase.

A breakdown of the apartments shows there will be 240 two-beds; 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds.

To meet social housing requirements, the developer plans to transfer 35 of the apartments (20 two-bed, 10 one-bed and 5 three-bed) to Galway City Council.

A total of 138 car-parking spaces have been allocated on the lower basement levels of Crown Square for residents, along with shared access to another 109 spaces and another 13 for use by a ‘car club’. There will be 796 secure bicycle parking spaces to serve the apartments.

The Board has ordered that the apartments can only be used as long-term rentals, and none can be used for short-term lettings.

Under ‘Build to Rent’ guidelines, the development must be owned and operated by an institutional entity for a minimum period of 15 years and “where no individual residential units shall be sold separately for that period”. The 15-year period starts from the date of occupation of the first residential unit.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.


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Councillors divided over vote on Salthill Prom cycleway



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to install a temporary two-way cycle lane along Salthill Promenade hangs in the balance, with city councillors split ahead of a vote next week.

On Monday night, the 18 city councillors will discuss Mayor Colette Connolly’s motion that the lane be installed on the coastal side of the road from Blackrock to a point opposite Galway Business School.

A poll of the councillors carried out by the Galway City Tribune yesterday found nine in favour of the proposal, with one indicating they will abstain. A simple majority is required and if there is a 9-9 split, the Mayor holds a ‘casting’ vote, effectively a second vote.

There has been a flurry of lobbying by cycling campaigners urging councillors to vote in favour, as well as some complaints from residents worried it will again impinge on their parking as visitors to Salthill seek somewhere to park up while they swim or walk along the most utilised resource the city has.

During lockdown, Gardaí removed parking on the Prom to deter people from gathering in a public space. This resulted in motorists blocking driveways and entering private estates, leading one estate off Threadneedle Road to hire a private clamping company.

Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) believes there are a maximum of 250 spaces that would be lost to the project on one side of the road as currently proposed, including seven disabled spaces, which could be reassigned close by.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read extensive coverage of the issue and to see how each councillor intends to vote, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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