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Robert’s unique insight into MS research

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Lifestyle – Robert Joyce has lived with Multiple Sclerosis for most of his adult life since being diagnosed with the condition in 1990.  The Clifden man tells Paddy Henry about developments in MS treatment over the last 30 years and how his involvement with a research team at NUI Galway has given him a new lease of life. 

Robert Joyce was just 23 when he sat in a neurologist’s office, and the words “You have MS” were uttered to him. The year was 1990, a time when little was known about this condition that damages the central nervous system.

Having just graduated with a Bachelor of commerce from NUI Galway, Robert was on the crest of a wave. He had found work with an accountancy firm in London and was brimming with youthful exuberance.

But when he returned to Ireland for his graduation Robert began to feel a numb sensation in his heels that he knew wasn’t right.

He made an appointment to see his doctor. As it happened, she too had the condition and referred him to a specialist immediately.

“I was very lucky,” he recalls. The GP I went to had Multiple Sclerosis herself. She saw it in me and referred me to a neurologist who specialised in MS.”

It was at that fast-tracked meeting with the specialist that Robert received the devastating diagnosis, but at the time, he knew nothing about the condition. In fact, thirty years ago the medical profession was still only learning about its complexities. A shocked Robert recalls researching MS, hoping for some clarity around his diagnosis.

“I checked in an encyclopaedia at the time and all it said was, ‘Multiple Sclerosis is a lifelong illness, there is no cure and you can die from it’,” he explains.

That was it.

“At the time it had no treatment, no therapy and two recommendations, ‘keep doing what you’re doing, and take evening primrose oil’,” he says of the advice.

It’s hard to think of how a more cruel hand could have been dealt to this young man in his early 20s, who had his whole life ahead of him, someone who looked on course to reach the top of his field. But, once he had the news, Robert took the diagnosis in his stride, focusing on the bigger picture and adopting a pragmatic approach.

“If there’s nothing I can do, there’s no point dwelling on it”, he says of his attitude at the time.

The Clifden man’ outlook hasn’t changed in the intervening years, despite his condition worsening. It has progressed from Relapsing Remitting to Secondary Progressive, which is the more severe form of the disease.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Words in the one language can get lost in translation

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

You’d be fairly deluded to see the upside of stormy weather – but if any joy could be drawn from the recent Storm Ciara, it was in the efforts of our English friends to pronounce it.

Even a handful of staff at the BBC – an organisation with its own Pronunciation Unit – got it hopelessly wrong as often as it got it right. So instead of Keera, it was Key-ara, just one small step from Ki-Ora as though an orange squash had engulfed the land.

You’d wonder if that was the devilment at play when the storm was originally named, following a poll hosted by Met Éireann on Twitter – coming up with something that would at least give us a laugh in the midst of a blackout?

Adding fuel to that particular fire was that the Chair of the European Storm Naming Group is none other than Evelyn Cusack, Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann and a woman blessed with a wicked sense of humour.

That’s not to say that Evelyn doesn’t take her job extremely seriously, because she does – and the colour-coded weather warnings are indicative of that.

But she also has a good sense of perspective – so ensuring there’s a strong Irish dimension to this shared naming process between ourselves, the UK and the Netherlands would be right up her street.

In fairness to any devilment in Evelyn, there’s an even greater danger with these things if you leave it to the general public – as evidenced by names suggested by the public (and rejected by the UK Met Office) including Vader, Voldemort, Baldrick and Noddy.

Indeed, according to the London Times, among the other suggestions turned down was that one of the storms could be called Inateacup.

So instead, we get to name a few, the Brits get to name and good few and the Dutch throw in their tuppence worth as well.

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

FF is stuck between a rock and a hard place

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Crunch time...FF leader Micheal Martin.

World of Politics with Harry McGee – harrymcgee@gmail.com

Anyone who has ever run a marathon knows that, somewhere around the 35km mark, you hit hell – and even when you finish it, the first reaction is ‘never again’…until a few months later they convince themselves it was not that bad, and sure, they might even go again.

And as it is with marathons in the sporting sense, so too in the political sphere – as we’re once again discovering.

Back in 2016, government formation took 70 days – and here we are with another marathon to a tortuous haul over the line.

And to be honest, we’re a long way from resolution.

Fianna Fáil says it will not go into government with Sinn Féin. Fine Gael says it will not go into government with either Sinn Féin or Fianna Fáil. Sinn Féin is exploring a government with the left but the name of the game for the party is some kind of arrangement with Fianna Fáil.

That’s not what Fianna Fáil wants. It wants a grand coalition (even though the two formerly biggest parties are considerably less grand after the election) involving Fine Gael, plus the Greens or Social Democrats or both.

Fine Gael does not want any arrangement. It wants to lead the opposition. But if every other combination bites the dirt, it might be reluctantly willing to talk to Fianna Fáil in terms of some form of coalition arrangement.

Every single suggested arrangement involves a massive fundamental shock to all the parties – but particularly to Fianna Fáil.

The party was the biggest loser in the election. It was expected to make gains, but it ended up losing seven seats, plus some of its brightest TDs, including Lisa Chambers, Fiona O’Loughlin and Declan Breathnach.

Now it faces stark choices on all fronts.

It’s been nearly a decade out of power and needs to go back in – but it has been much weakened and if it goes into government it will not go in as the dominant partner.

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

Aer Lingus addition means airline will have record capacity at Shannon in 2020

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Pictured at Shannon Airport onboard the new A321neo LR aircraft were (from left) Donal Moriarty, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Aer Lingus, Andrew Murphy, Managing Director Shannon Airport, Rose Hynes, Chairman Shannon Group and Mary Considine, CEO Shannon Group.

There was double cause for celebration in Shannon last week when Aer Lingus launched its second new aircraft at the airport as its New York JFK service resumes ahead of schedule.

CEO of Shannon Group, Mary Considine, has said that the launch today of the new Shannon-based aircraft and the early return of Aer Lingus’ JFK service was a further show of commitment by the airline to Shannon Airport and the region.

The service recommenced last week – a month earlier than in previous years – and will operate six days a week, rising to seven days a week in the peak summer months all the way through to the end of the year.

Passengers will now avail of the new state-of-the-art A321neo LR aircraft on this route, which comes complete with additional business class capacity.

With this and their two services for Shannon in 2020, Aer Lingus’ capacity this year will grow by 20%.   As a result 2020 will see the largest percentage increase in the number of Aer Lingus seats in over 30 years at Shannon Airport.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

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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