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Galway baby recovering in London after liver transplant



Date Published: {J}

By Denise McNamara

A 10-month-old girl whose mother donated part of her liver to save her baby’s life is in a stable condition after suffering a setback five days after the major operation in London.

Baby Ieva (pronounced Eva) from Rahoon underwent the transplant a week ago in King’s College Hospital. Her mother Kristina Zukaskaute donated one fifth of her liver for the operation, which if successful will mean Baby Ieva can live a normal life.

Kristina’s employer Louise Blade, who runs the Sewing Studios on Shop Street, said everything was going to plan until Saturday when a leakage was discovered in one of the baby’s bile ducts.

This was repaired and her medical team say she is currently stable. She is currently on a ventilator and steadily improving. They will continue to monitor her closely and hope there will be no further hiccups as a result of the complex procedure.

Little Ieva was just a month old when Kristina brought her in to meet colleagues at her workplace where she has toiled at a sewing machine for seven years.

Under the bright lights of the Sewing Studios, Louise noticed that the baby’s eyes were a luminous yellow. She urged Kristina to immediately visit a GP, who referred her on to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin.

She was diagnosed with biliary atresia, a rare disease which causes a blockage in bile ducts. If she had gone a week longer without treatment, she would have suffered irreparable damage.

She had two operations in Dublin which failed to correct her condition. A transplant was deemed to be the only option to save her life.

Kristina was chosen as the donor because they share a rare blood type. Within days of the partial liver graft, the organ regenerates and she was up and walking around almost immediately.

The HSE are paying for Ieva’s medical treatment in London but her parents have to stump up for travel and living expenses. Kristina has been off work for nearly a year, while her husband Andrew has also been on long-term leave from his factory job in Spiddal for the lengthy hospital spells.

The couple, originally from Lithuania, met in Galway and also have a daughter, Laura, 12, who is currently being cared for in Rahoon by Kristina’s mother.

So far the people of Galway have donated €12,000 to a fund set up to help the family.

Baby Ieva is likely to be in a hospital for several months and on a lot of anti-rejection medication.

Louise said Kristina is like a daughter. Her own daughter, Audrey Cassidy, is Ieva’s godmother.

“We’re so close, she’s a fabulous girl. Our customers really miss her, they’ve been fantastic for giving donations. One friend of mine put in €1,000 to start if off. Her own people from Lithuania have been generous and the factory where Andrew works raised €5,000 from within the company,” explained Louise.

The Baby Ieva Fund is open at AIB, Lynch’s Castle. The account number is 33233063 and the branch number is 937096.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.


For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup



Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

Athenry FC 1

Kilbarrack United 2

(After extra time)

For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.

On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.

An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.

However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.

They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.

With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.

Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.

Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.

Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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