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Connacht Tribune

New baby sets the seal on year to remember for kidney recipient




The Galway wife of a former county hurler – whose life was changed utterly after a successful kidney transplant – has added to their year to remember…by giving birth to their first baby.

Transplant recipient David Beirne from Knockcroghery, and his wife Irene Nestor from Brownsgrove, Tuam, welcomed their first child Ailbhe into the world this month; a joyous occasion after a challenging few years.

It was a double cause for celebration because David only recently underwent a kidney transplant – and he was able to witness the birth of his first child thanks to the life changing organ donation.

David, who is a former Roscommon hurler and member of St. Dominic’s GAA club, was forced to end his playing career prematurely when he was diagnosed with kidney failure at the age of 25.

“It was a big shock and was definitely something I was not expecting to hear,” said David. “It took a couple of days to register.”

The avid hurler had made a visit to his GP in 2013 for an ankle injury, but when his doctor took some blood tests, David received far more serious news.

“It was a surreal week to be honest; even when they were doing tests I was thinking that I would be fine, I was 25 years old and healthy,” he said.

“But it can happen at any age, from the very young to the very old, no one is immune to being sick.”

For the next four years, David underwent dialysis treatment in Merlin Park while awaiting a kidney donation.

David managed to get through this difficult period thanks to the support of his family and community.

“The support network I have is so important,” he said. “They were the ones who were there when I was recovering and everything; they are the best in the world.”

Despite his condition, David’s passion for hurling never faded and he was a manager with his local club throughout his treatment.

“You have to have some sort of outlet, you can’t just walk away from everything,” he said. “I didn’t let my illness define me because if you do that you struggle to find reasons to get up in the morning.”

The young father has not skipped a beat when it comes to fitness and he is staying active as a member of Transplant Team Ireland, a sporting programme for transplant recipients.

“You can’t put your life on hold because of illness, that’s the worst thing you can do.”

Although David will never know the identity of his organ donor, he is extremely grateful to the family who, despite suffering the loss of a loved one, made a compassionate and selfless decision that now allows David to live a healthy life.

“Because of my donor, I was able to be there for my wife the whole way through her pregnancy and for when my daughter was born,” he said. “You are so thankful to them every day.”

This is Organ Donor Awareness Week, which aims to promote organ donation and also reminds individuals to talk to their families about their organ donation wishes.

Thanks to organ donations, David and over 4,000 others in Ireland are enjoying extended lives.

“It is utter shock when you are told you are getting a transplant because when you are waiting so long you start to think the call is never going to come,” said David

“Now people say to me that I must be delighted that I have a new life, I tell them no – I just got my old one back.”

Connacht Tribune

Remote working creates rural boom

Stephen Corrigan



Report....Professor Alma McCarthy.

Urban dwellers are now looking to up sticks and move to the countryside, as working from home becomes the norm – and with a new survey showing almost all workers who have made the switch hoping to maintain some level of remote working, rural life is becoming increasingly attractive.

According to one of the lead researchers behind the second national employee survey carried out since the onset of Covid-19, remote working is surging in popularity, with 94% of over 5,600 participants hoping to continue working remotely for some or all of the time – an increase from 83% six months ago.

Professor Alma McCarthy of the Cairnes School of Business and Economics at NUIG told the Connacht Tribune that the desire to continue working from home had grown since the first phase of the survey in April, with more flexible hours and no traffic adding to its appeal.

“What we are looking at here is a particular cohort of the workforce that have jobs which lend themselves to working from home, and where people have that opportunity, we see that support has gone up [for remote working].

“Most people want a blended type of working arrangement, where they work from home some of the time and go into the office maybe one or two days a week. I think that is probably how it will look from now on,” said Prof McCarthy.

The number of people who wish to work from home five days a week has more than doubled since April, now at 27% compared to 12% in the early days of Covid-19.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download a digital version from our website

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Connacht Tribune

Retail outlets stay positive despite shut-down

Stephen Corrigan



Challenge...Fiona Charity.

Galway retailers have reiterated calls to shop local online in the coming weeks, as Level 5 restrictions force them to close their doors in the run up to peak shopping season.

From today (Thursday), unessential retailers must shut up shop until December 1 – limiting outlets such as clothes, furniture and toy shops to online sales and collections only.

One such shop is Modella Fashion in Corrandulla, which only opened its doors for the first time in July, and while owner Fiona Charity said it was clearly a huge challenge to start a new business in a pandemic, she remained hopeful that she could weather the storm.

“It’s obviously hugely disappointing, but public health is the most important thing, and if this works, we might have more freedom for Christmas.

“We are lucky in that we went live with our website last week and that’s been really busy already. Even though we can’t open, people are able to order online and have their order delivered, or click and collect,” said Ms Charity ahead of closing this week.

Likewise, Standún in An Spidéal has seen a surge in their online sales since the onset of Covid-19, according to manager Deirdre Ní Ghríofa, who said the message for everyone was to “shop local as much as you possibly can”.

Ms Ní Ghríofa said they had a big increase in local sales online during the early days of the pandemic and that was something she hoped would continue in the run up to Christmas.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download a digital version from our website

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Connacht Tribune

Back in our bubble – and braced for the impact

Dara Bradley



Fourth Class pupils from Galway Educate Together NS in Newcastle enjoying the wonder of science to mark the launch of Galway Science and Technology Festival's 2020 online programme running from November 8 to 22.

Galway is braced for the economic impact of this week’s return to lockdown – with both the pub and retail sector preparing for the worst.

The head of the county’s publicans predicted that as many as one in five outlets will never reopen, given that the best case scenario now is that they’ll return to Level 3 for Christmas,  which limits outdoor drinkers to just 15.

In a stark warning, Chair of the Galway branch of the VFI, Joe Sheridan, said a conservative estimate was that 20% of pubs won’t reopen – but that could rise to one-third if they didn’t see some return to business for the festive season.

Retailers too were predicting the worst – but still with the belief that a good December could save them.

The reasoning behind the move to Level 5 was underlined by the fact that new cases of the infection are now rising at a rate of 500 per week.

After another record week of positive cases in Galway, there were 13 patients in two public hospitals being treated for Covid-19 – twelve in UHG and one in Ballinasloe.

There were a further three suspected cases in UHG.

See full coverage of the Covid crisis in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download a digital version from our website

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