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Connacht Tribune

Mother’s cry for help before son’s suicide

Stephen Corrigan

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The mother of a 25-year-old man who died by suicide told an inquest into his death she was looking for help but didn’t get it.

The man, with an address on the outskirts of Galway city, took his own life in November, 2016, following his discharge a month earlier from University Hospital Galway’s Psychiatric Unit.

His mother told Coroner for Galway West, Dr Ciarán MacLoughlin, that her son was admitted to hospital on September 21, 2017 and was an in-patient for 18 days.

She was critical of the decision to discharge her son and, in particular, the lack of notice given to her that he would be coming home.

She said she had tried to meet with hospital staff but had been left waiting so long on one occasion, she had to return to work.

“I was surprised when they rang and told me he was being discharged; nobody asked did he have somewhere to go.

“Yes, he was an adult, but he was still a sick adult,” she said.

She told the Coroner’s Court that once her son left the hospital, he refused to take the medication that had been prescribed for him.

“He wasn’t willing to go to the pharmacy to get medication – he just wasn’t right,” she said. “He thought this medication was killing him.”

Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Camilla Hennelly, treated the deceased at hospital during his admission in September 2017.

Speaking to the inquest, Dr Hennelly said he was a self-referred patient and that it had been his first presentation to the services.

“He presented with a three- month history of low mood, poor appetite, broken sleep and paranoid and suicidal ideation.

“He had been drinking for two years previously culminating in low mood,” said Dr Hennelly.

“He was abstinent on presentation for a period of two to three months,” she added.

She said he had been on anti-depressants but compliance had been an issue and he could not recall the name of them when asked.

In the early stages of his admission, he was placed on level two observations which involved him being checked every 15 minutes by a psychiatric nurse.

He was also prescribed anti-depressants and anti-psychotic drugs, explained Dr Hennelly.

“He engaged with the therapist and a recovery care plan was put in place and this was discussed with his mother.

“He denied any cravings for alcohol during his admission and on September 25, following review by me, I increased his anti-depression medication,” said Dr Hennelly.

She said on October 2, his depression symptoms were abating, as was his suicidal ideation.

“By October 9, I was satisfied that he should be discharged for therapeutic reasons,” said Dr Hennelly, before explaining that certain services are not available to psychiatric patients while they remain in hospital.

He was advised to attend the day hospital and group therapy sessions and was told of the importance of taking any medication prescribed for him.

Coroner, Dr MacLoughlin, said it was all very well to say he wasn’t displaying psychosis at this point.

“He was dead within a month by his own hand.

“There seems to me an awful lot of concern by his mother and it would appear that concern wasn’t taken on board by a lot of other people,” said Dr MacLoughlin.

His mother said her son did not leave the house for a month after discharge; had been so afraid at night that he was sleeping in the bed with her; and he refused to take any medication.

She said she had tried to contact Dr Hennelly at one point but she was on leave and her call was never returned.

Dr Hennelly said she was never made aware that her patient’s mother had called upon her return.

The deceased’s mother said she had reached despair on October 13 and called for an ambulance, only for the paramedics to inform her that because her son would not go willingly to hospital with them, it would be up to his GP or the Gardaí to sign him in.

“The ambulance person rang the GP to ask him to sign [my son] into hospital but the GP refused and said I have nothing to do with that and to ring the Guards,” she said.

Giving evidence, the deceased’s GP, Dr Denis Higgins, said he had no record of that call and while it could have been taken by another GP at his practice, he personally did not speak to any paramedic.

The mother said she would seek to find the paramedic to corroborate her story, should the Coroner allow it.

Legal Counsel for the HSE, Imelda Tierney, said that the deceased had been engaging with the services after his discharge from UHG.

“He had an 18 day stay in hospital – that is not often the case. He received detailed treatment over that 18 days.

“He returned to an appointment on October 18 so he was engaging with the system,” said Ms Tierney.

Coroner, Dr MacLoughlin, said it seemed his mother had a deep insight into the problems her son faced.

“Ms Tierney, what you are really saying is that all the professionals thought he was alright and the only person who knew how sick he was, was his mother – and who was right?

“I feel it is incumbent on me to make enquiries on this and see what the general attitude in the hospital is to this,” said Dr MacLoughlin.

He said he would give the deceased’s mother the time she needed to find the paramedic whom she said had called the doctor.

“I will reserve a verdict and any rider or recommendation until such a time as we have heard complete evidence. We will reconvene on June 28/29,” said Dr MacLoughlin.

Connacht Tribune

SMEs set their sights on Euro expansion

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Kevin Moran of IMS Marketing accepting the ‘Excellence in Practice Silver Award’ from the European Foundation for Management Development, with Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon and Nan Gou, Programme Director, ESMT Berlin.

Irish entrepreneurs have the skills, products and services to break down barriers across Europe, according to one Galway-based marketing agency that is helping SMEs enter new markets.

Kevin Moran, Managing Director of IMS Marketing in Galway, said that this creativity and enthusiasm allows Irish entrepreneurs to punch above their weight in new markets.

He was speaking after his IMS Marketing was honoured for its ‘Enter-the-Eurozone’ Programme which has helped 19 SMEs break into Europe.

And he urged all SMEs to continue to set their ambitions on export markets as we emerge from the Covid-19 restrictions and revisit the challenges of Brexit.

Mr Moran said that IMS Marketing, along with its partners, Enterprise Ireland and ESMT Berlin, was delighted to receive the Excellence in Practice Silver Award’ from the European Foundation for Management Development.

“The vision for the ‘Enter the Eurozone’ Programme was to enable progressive Irish SMEs  to enter a new Eurozone market in a strategically led way,” he said.

“Export markets will be more important than ever for Irish companies and jobs as they now face the twin threat of Brexit and a post Covid19 economic recession.”

Accepting the Award’ from the EFMD, Mr Moran said that his company witnessed the strength of the Irish SME sector during the delivery of the award-winning ‘Enter the Eurozone’ programme.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Businesses miss out on restart grant

Stephen Corrigan

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Mr. Kenneth Deery. Photo: Andrew Downes, Xposure
CEO of Galway Chamber Kenny Deery

Just one-third of Galway business eligible for the Government’s Restart Grant have actually applied for the scheme which aims to bolster small enterprise as Covid-19 restrictions ease.

It was revealed this week that businesses in Galway City and County have received almost €4.5 million in grant aid under the scheme which offers grants of between €2,000 and €10,000 to commercial rates-liable enterprises.

To qualify for the €250 million scheme, businesses must have an annual turnover of less than €5 million; have 50 or fewer employee; and have a projected loss of revenue of 25% or more.

CEO of Galway Chamber Kenny Deery said there were many Galway businesses that had yet to apply for the grants, despite the fact that they were entitled to do so.

Only around 1,100 of the about 3,000 businesses in the city and county that may be due a pay-out have applied, and confusion over eligibility was contributing to that issue, he explained.

“Some businesses are of the view that they’re not eligible, but they need to realise that even if they only paid €500 or €1,000 in rates in 2019, they could still be eligible for €2,000,” he said.

Those who were in rates arrears were also entitled to the grant, said Mr Deery, adding that as long as a business had a rates liability in 2019, they could apply for the grant.

“The payment have just started being paid out to those who applied about two months ago, so it has been slow in terms of progressing those applications.

“What I would be saying to small businesses is that they would need to sell a lot of cups of coffee or a lot of sandwiches to make €2,000 or €5,000 in profit,” said Mr Deery.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway embraces Mass changes

Stephen Corrigan

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Parish Priest Fr Hugh Clifford wearing a mask during the distribution of Holy Communion at Mass in St Joseph’s Church, Kinvara, on Saturday evening. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Parishioners in Kinvara made a long-awaited return to weekend services on Saturday at St Joseph’s Church, and while it was far from business as usual, mass-goers expressed delight at their return to the church.

Parish Priest Fr Hugh Clifford said while there were necessary changes to what people would be accustomed to, the congregation was understanding of why that was necessary and thankful that the implementation of these measures meant they could return to services after a four-month absence.

As part of Phase 3 of the easing of restrictions, services of up to 50 people were allowed, and to respect physical distancing, that meant two seats in every three were blocked off, said Fr Hugh.

“Households can sit together, but at the moment, we have the limit of 50 people, but we hope that will change in the next phase. We have to advise people who are more vulnerable that they should consider staying at home for the time being,” he explained.

The obligation to attend Mass has been lifted since the outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis, continued Fr Hugh, meaning that people need not worry if they are unable to attend.

For the Eucharist, the Priest and Eucharistic Ministers wear face coverings and use hand sanitiser to ensure there is no cross-contamination, with Communion administered to people in their seats, said Fr Hugh.

See full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.

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