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Teenage hurlers hit by meningitis



Two minor hurlers from the Oranmore area were hospitalised with a suspected meningitis infection.

Two of the teenagers – who were recently crowned minor B county champions – were diagnosed with meningitis last week.

In a post on the Facebook Page of the Oranmore Maree GAA Club, the management outlined that due to the fast actions of their parents, both boys will fully recover.

“They will be alright, both are still in University Hospital Galway and we thank the staff at the hospital for the wonderful care they are receiving,” according to a post on the Facebook Page of the Oranmore Maree GAA Club.

“We urge everyone and in particular parents to monitor and be aware of the symptoms of meningitis and to not hesitate seeking professional medical advice as meningitis can be fatal if not caught in time. Speedy recovery to the lads.”

One of the hurlers was the captain of the victorious team, Sean Bannon, who just a week before lifted the minor cup for his hometown after beating Killimordaly in a replay, the first time in 30 years that it had been claimed in Maree/Oranmore.

His brother Alan told Galway Bay FM that Sean came down with a ferocious headache and was laid up in bed.

Eight hours later, the headache was getting worse instead of better, and his mother Anne decided to take him to Westdoc, who immediately referred him to the emergency department at University Hospital Galway (UHG).

He didn’t show any of the tell-tale signs, he had no rash, no stiffness in the neck and he had no sensitivity to lights. They caught it in time,” Alan recalled.

Once a lumbar puncture and other tests confirmed the presence of viral meningitis, he was immediately put on a drip and an aggressive regime of antibiotics.

Word of his illness spread so that when another team mate came down with similar symptoms, his parents rushed him to casualty where he was immediately diagnosed with the same thing and put on a drip.

In July a 23-year-old Derry footballer passed away from meningitis. Alan said they were grateful both boys were caught early.

“Hours and minutes make all the difference,” he reflected.

Following the outbreak, other members of the team reported feeling similar symptoms but so far no other cases have been confirmed, according to a spokesman for the Health Service Executive (HSE).

“The Public Health Department did have reports about a few kids complaining of headaches but they were not diagnosed with meningitis,” he said.

Meningitis is where a viral or bacterial infection causes inflammation of the lining around the spinal cord and the brain.

Meningitis is usually viral or bacterial. Viral meningitis is a serious illness, but doesn’t usually end in fatality and most people make a full recovery. Bacterial has a higher incidence of fatality and has many strains, caused by many different bacteria. Most of the cases in Ireland are caused by meningococcal disease.

Siobhán Carroll, of the support group Act for Meningitis, said it was most unusual for an outbreak to claim two victims in the one area. She had also heard there were a number of other cases in the Oranmore area but tests had not confirmed the presence of the virus.

“It would be extremely rare to have that many cases a few days apart. We only hear from families dealing with their own cases who are calling for support – never about this many,” she explained.

Meningitis is the biggest killer of children under five in Ireland. One in ten people who contract meningitis will die, one in five will be left with severe after affects.

“There is a higher risk of meningitis during the winter months. As people spend a lot more time indoors and with close contact, germs are spread more easily. Also, coming down with a ‘cold’ or the ‘flu’, may weaken the immune system making you more susceptible to the disease.”

The symptoms may be difficult to spot as many of the early symptoms can be similar to those of the ‘flu’. The charity urges people trust their instincts and if they suspect meningitis, seek medical help immediately.

The signs of Meningitis can include vomiting, fever, headache, stiff neck, dislike of bright lights, severe muscle pain, confusion.

In babies among the symptoms are being irritable, refusing to feed, high pitched crying, rapid breathing and cold hands and feet and a bulging soft spot on head.

Children up to age five are the most at-risk age group, young people aged 16-24 are the second highest at-risk group but anyone of any age can contract meningitis.

Meningitis does not always produce a rash but if it does appear it will not fade under pressure, even if a drinking glass is applied over it, which is known as the tumbler test.

“Time is of the utmost importance. Meningitis can strike so quickly and can kill within hours,” warned Siobhán.

ACT for Meningitis provide a wide range of free support service to those affected, and currently support families and individuals in 15 counties.

Connacht Tribune

Boil water notice issued for Barna area



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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Councillors back bid to ban city centre parking in Galway



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Councillors have unanimously agreed to ask Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to limit parking to residents only in the city centre.

Pedestrians in the city are being treated like second-class citizens, according to the Mayor, who said cars continued to get the priority on Galway’s streets.

At a meeting of the City Council this week, Mayor Colette Connolly (Ind) said the city had come to a standstill in car traffic, and pedestrians and cyclists were suffering the consequences.

“At junctions, why am I a second-class citizen in my own city as a pedestrian? It rains in Galway for 300 days of the year, but I am a second-class citizen when priority is given to motorists.

“It’s always the pedestrian that waits,” she said, hitting out at the length it took to get a green light to cross at pedestrian crossings.

One way to reduce the number of cars in the city centre would be to limit parking to residents only in the city centre, said the Mayor.

In a motion she proposed, seconded by Cllr Mike Cubbard (Ind), councillors unanimously agreed to write to the Minister for Transport to demand he pass the necessary legislation to enable the Council to do this.

The Mayor said residents were “sick, sore and tired” of people parking where they wanted when they visited the city and said despite a desire to introduce this measure going back almost 20 years, the Council was hamstrung by national legislation that prevented them from proceeding.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Planners approve homes for ‘cuckoo fund’ investor



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The green light has been given for the construction of 345 apartments at the Crown Square site in Mervue – the majority of which will be put on the rental market and operated by a ‘cuckoo fund’ for a minimum of fifteen years.

Crown Square Developments, which is owned by developer Padraic Rhatigan, has secured permission from An Bord Pleanála for the ‘Build to Rent’ development, with four blocks ranging ranging from four to nine storeys in height.

There will also be a neighbourhood facility with a gym, a primary care medical centre with pharmacy, a ‘working from home’ lounge, six shops, a games room and a creche.

There will be 240 two-bed apartments, 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds, all of which will be specifically for the rental market and not available to purchase.

A breakdown of the apartments shows there will be 240 two-beds; 86 one-beds and 19 three-beds.

To meet social housing requirements, the developer plans to transfer 35 of the apartments (20 two-bed, 10 one-bed and 5 three-bed) to Galway City Council.

A total of 138 car-parking spaces have been allocated on the lower basement levels of Crown Square for residents, along with shared access to another 109 spaces and another 13 for use by a ‘car club’. There will be 796 secure bicycle parking spaces to serve the apartments.

The Board has ordered that the apartments can only be used as long-term rentals, and none can be used for short-term lettings.

Under ‘Build to Rent’ guidelines, the development must be owned and operated by an institutional entity for a minimum period of 15 years and “where no individual residential units shall be sold separately for that period”. The 15-year period starts from the date of occupation of the first residential unit.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.


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