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Rosabel’s living legacy

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Gary Monroe and Suzanne McClean with their little boy, Ruben, aged six. His handwritten script sits alongside the rose – the work of artist Jim FitzPatrick on the charity’s logo. PHOTO: JOE O’SHAUGHNESSY.

Lifestyle – After their 16-month-old daughter died suddenly in April 2017, Gary Monroe and Suzanne McClean channelled their grief into the charity Rosabel’s Rooms,  which helps other families in a similar situation. They talk to Judy Murphy

Suzanne McClean and Gary Monroe knew from the day she was born that their daughter Rosabel – Beautiful Rose – was special.  Born on January 5, 2016, a baby sister for their gorgeous son Ruben, she was “the icing on the cake” of their happy family.

Suzanne used to ask her baby girl ‘where did you come from?’ and ‘were you here before?’, and says that while all parents rightly think their babies are special, there was something unique about Rosabel, who connected with everyone she met during her short life.

And Rosabel’s life on this earth was all too short. At just 16 months, the toddler who had been perfectly healthy, passed away in her cot at home in Mincloon, Galway City. Her death was classified as a Sudden Unexplained Death Sin Early Childhood (SUDEC). It’s similar to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome but in older children.

Gary was at work the evening Rosabel stopped breathing at their home on April 2017 – he and his brother Rob run the renowned Monroe’s Bar and music venue.

“I called Gary to get an ambulance, but he got her before it and we raced to the hospital,” recalls Suzanne softly of that awful evening.

The care Rosabel and her parents received in UHG from Consultant Paediatrician, Dr Donough O’Donovan and the staff was brilliant. But the facilities for parents in a time of such unspeakable distress were bad.

“There was an area off the Resuscitation Room in the Emergency Department and we spent the night in there with her,” they recall.

The medics had tried everything to resuscitate little Rosabel, but it was too late.

“She had died at home, but they worked on her very hard to try and save her,” says Suzanne. “She was pronounced dead after midnight and we stayed with her, in that small space, until after lunch the following day.”

Even through their grief and shock, Suzanne and Gary realised that better facilities were needed for parents and families going through such tragedy.

And so, the idea of Rosabel’s Rooms, a charity providing support to other families in a similar situation, took seed. It was launched the following January on what would have been Rosabel’s second birthday.  Run in conjunction with the Irish Hospice Foundation, it has three aspects.

The first is the development of Bereavement Rooms in hospitals to offer families a private, safe space when a child is dying. The second is financial support for what can be a cripplingly expensive as well as a deeply traumatic time.  And the third is a paid-for counselling service, with accredited psychologists and psychotherapists. Suzanne, a psychologist, works with the Galway Rape Crisis Centre and knows the value of counselling.

For more, read this week’s Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Boil water notice issued for Barna area

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A boil water notice has been issued for the Barna area for health protection purposes

The areas affected are Barna Village, Truskey West and Truskey East, Barr Aille, Fermoyle, Ballard and along the Connemara Coast Road as far as Furbo, and on the Barna/Galway Road as far as Silverstrand.

The notice has been put in place due to issues with disinfection of the water at Tonabruckey Reservoir.

The notice affects approximately 2,300 people supplied by the Barna section of the Galway City West Public Water Supply area.

Customers in the area served by Tonabrucky Reservoir will notice increased levels of chlorine in their water supply in the coming days as we work to resolve the issue.

Vulnerable customers who have registered with Irish Water will receive direct communication on this Boil Water Notice.

Irish water, the City Council and the HSE will monitor the supply and will lift the notice when it is safe to do so.

In line with HSE Covid-19 advice and the requirement for frequent hand washing, Irish Water advises that the water remains suitable for this purpose and boiling the water is not required.

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Violent incident in Tuam leaves seven hospitalised

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Gardaí are investigating after an incident in Tuam yesterday left seven people injured.

A violent altercation broke out between a large group at the cemetery in Tuam at about 4pm yesterday.

Around 30 Gardaí responded to the incident at the cemetery on the Athenry Road in Tuam, which broke out following two funerals in the area.

Gardaí supported by members from the wider North Western Region and the Regional Armed Support Unit had to physically intervene between parties and disperse those present.

Five males and two females were injured during the course of the incident and were taken to University Hospital Galway with non-life threatening injuries.

A 16-year-old boy was arrested at the scene, as he tried to flee in possession of a knife.

He was taken to Tuam Garda Station and has since been released. A file is being prepared for the Juvenile Liaison Officer.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to this incident or for anyone with any information to contact Tuam Garda Station .

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Connacht Tribune

Anger over ANC ‘snip’

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Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue

ANGRY farmers hit out during last week’s Galway IFA at the Dept. of Agriculture over what they described as their ‘heavy handed tactics’ in docking BEAM penalties from ANC payments made last week.

Although Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, has apologised for the actions taken by his Department officials, delegates who attended last Thursday’s night county IFA meeting in the Claregalway Hotel, hit out at what happened.

In some cases, according to Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, farmers who had already paid back the BEAM penalty also had the money deducted from their ANC (Areas of Natural Constraint) payments made last week.

Many farmers received ‘a shock in the post’ when their ANC payments were hit with the deductions of penalties from the BEAM scheme – earlier they had been warned of interest penalties if any balances weren’t repaid within 30 days.

At the core of the problem was the inclusion of a 5% stock numbers reduction in the BEAM scheme (Beef Exceptional Aid Measure) aimed at helping to compensate farmers for a drop-off in beef prices between September, 2018 and May, 2019.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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