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Island singer aims to complete album after cancer diagnosis

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One of the country’s best known traditional singers is back making sweet music – after the shock of a cancer diagnosis when she was five months pregnant.

Aran Islands singer Lasairfhíona Ní Chonaola has this week spoken publicly for the first time about being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 39.

At the time of her diagnosis, Lasairfhíona was in the process of putting together her second album.

But the money she had put aside for the work on the album was spent on her treatment – and she has now set up a Fundit page to raise funds to complete the album.

“They wanted to start me on chemo while I was pregnant, but we weren’t comfortable with that,” Lasairfhíona told Iris Aniar on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta.

“We did some research on it… I wanted to be able to enjoy being a mother and give myself time.  I was thinking that if I did chemo, that I wouldn’t have time for the baby, because I’d be sick or tired.

“It’s not an easy decision for any woman to make, but I said I’d wait.  I took very good care of myself.  I stopped eating meat and dairy, and I took a lot of vitamins.

“I did mediation, things like that, and I was doing a lot of research.  Thankfully, my daughter was born safe and well,” she added.

After her daughter was born, Lasairfhíona decided to undergo chemo.

“I was afraid to do it… but I did a lot of additional things.  I took intravenous Vitamin C, I’d stopped eating meat and dairy because they are hard on the body.

“The doctors were very happy, the scans were showing everything going the right way.  The lump is gone now, something which is very unusual.

“I didn’t need to get a mastectomy or lumpectomy … one of the doctors in the hospital noticed how well I was doing, and told me I looked too healthy!” she said.

And the singer has now set up a Fundit page to finish her album. “I’d like to finish it, because while I was healing it kept me going that I would finish the album,” she said.

The Fundit campaign runs until April 27. You can contribute on Fundit.

Connacht Tribune

Joyce’s Tribune inspiration for Finnegan’s Wake!

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James Joyce's statue in Dublin.

James Joyce copied copiously from the Connacht Tribune when it came to creating his complex novel Finnegans Wake where he intertwined events of the real world and that of his dreams.

He had relatives of his wife Nora send him over copies of the Tribune in 1924, from which he would pour over local news, sports reports, letters to the editor and even advertisements.

An art teacher in Dublin, who has spent 14 years creating illustrations inspired by Finnegans Walk, hopes to create pieces of art specifically highlighting those Galway sections of the novel.

Carole Wade is hoping people here who have anecdotes and connections with Ireland’s most famous author will relay those to her which can then be incorporated into the artwork. It will eventually be donated to the Moore Institute in the University of Galway.

Her sister Dr Frances McCormack in the university’s School of English and Creative Arts has reached out to her fellow academics to collaborate. But her sibling is urging ordinary people to take part.

“I think it’s the most amazing book ever written. Ulysses is about a specific place and time but Finnegan’s Wake is about the history of the world. If you want to know about the Crimean War, every war and every battle in Europe – they’re all mentioned, even the Maamtrasna murders are there,” she enthuses.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. 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

Little Blue Hero meets Boys in Green

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Connacht’s Tom Farrell, David Hawkshaw, Niall Murray, Tom Daly, Gavin Thornbury and Jarrad Butler chase after Charlie Quinn during his visit to the Sportsground. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Connacht’s trio of Irish rugby internationals found themselves facing (not quite) the long arm of the law this week when Galway’s newest Garda recruit turned up to join in their training session at the Sportsground.

Charlie Quinn – Garda Number 322 – was in full uniform for the occasion, but that didn’t stop him joining in a Connacht session with captain Jack Carty and, fresh from Ireland’s triumphant Autumn Series, Mack Hansen and Bundee Aki.

The seven-year-old from Creggs is Galway’s latest Little Blue Hero, following his life-changing bone marrow transplant – thanks to a donation from dad Niall, who underwent a pioneering procedure to ensure his platelets were compatible with his young son’s.

Charlie was given a tour of the new Garda Regional Headquarters in Murrough before being ‘blue lighted’ by members of the force to Connacht Rugby to meet his heroes.

And a day later, he still hadn’t come down from the high.

“He’s gone off to school this morning, fully clad from head to toe in his Garda uniform; he’s delighted with himself,” said his mum Cathy.

Niall and Cathy revealed the rollercoaster they’ve been on since Charlie was first diagnosed with Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome is a rare genetic immunodeficiency that keeps a child’s immune system from functioning properly.

But thanks to the incredible work carried out at the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle, he’s now finally back to full health – and flying.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. 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

Nurses’ strike threat over ED safety

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The new temporary ED at UHG.

Nurses threatened strike action at University Hospital Galway (UHG) over safety fears around staffing of the new temporary Emergency Department, the Connacht Tribune has learned.

INMO (Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation) warned management at UHG that they would ballot for industrial action, up to and including withdrawal of labour, if their safety concerns were not met.

Correspondence released to this newspaper following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, reveals how relations between management and nurses soured in September as the HSE planned to push ahead with the opening of the new temporary ED, without agreement.

Emails released under FOI also reveal that a breakdown in trust between management and nurses threatened to delay further the opening of the new temporary ED.

Last July, a HSE West Regional Health Forum meeting was told by CEO of Saolta University Healthcare Group, Tony Canavan that the temporary ED would be open in September.

The new temporary ED, he said, would have capacity for 43 beds, nine more than the previous ED which was declared ‘not fit for purpose’.

But nurses resisted the move to the new temporary ED until their demands that it would be sufficiently staffed were met. INMO wanted more staff and an appropriate mix of experienced staff in the new temporary ED.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. 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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