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Connacht Tribune

Teens must deal with isolation in new world of online friends

Dave O'Connell

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A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It’s an accepted reality that you can be loneliest of all in the heart of a busy city; like a tree in the forest, just because you’re surrounded doesn’t mean you don’t feel like you’re completely on your own.

What is now becoming clear, as well, is the new reality in this age of technology and global connection – that just because you have hundreds of friends on Facebook doesn’t actually mean you have any friends at all.

Friendship can be defined in many ways – but there’s a growing recognition that friends are not to be found among those people you’ve never actually met on Facebook or other social media platforms.

And this isn’t just some sort of old-fashioned notion of how to define friendship; Childline, for example, has revealed that social media is leading to an epidemic of loneliness among children.

Part of this comes from an insecurity at seeing how busy their class-mates appear to be online and on social media, and a feeling of inadequacy on their part that they don’t seem to be as successful.

That has led to a significant increase in the number of young people seeking counselling from Childline to help them cope with loneliness.

The report was from the charity’s UK operation – but there’s no reason to think that the same patterns aren’t prevalent here.

Childline delivered 4,636 counselling sessions for loneliness in 2017-18 – a 14 per cent rise on the previous year.

Teenagers accounted for most of these, with the youngest child being just ten; girls received almost 80 per cent of sessions.

And the recurring theme among these young people was that they saw their friends having a great time on social media, which left them feeling worthless that no one cared enough to invite them to join in.

Making friends was always an issue for young people and we all grew up with the knowledge that some people are naturally more popular than others.

There were those kids who weren’t great at football, who would be the last pick for the five-a-sides; those who didn’t know their music and were left out of conversations – those who weren’t great in the company of the opposite sex and who withdrew into themselves as a form of protection or self-preservation.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Student nurses face all the risk – for no reward

Dara Bradley

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Working on the children’s ward of a busy hospital during a global pandemic is no joke; less funny still when you’re not getting paid for your toil.

All the risk and none of the rewards of qualified staff – that’s the lot of Edel Moore, a student nurse who is currently on placement at University Hospital Galway.

Edel, and hundreds of student nurses like her on placement in UHG and Portiuncula in Ballinasloe, want more than a round of applause and platitudes from Government.

“None of us want a pat on the back for struggling. We’d just like to be recognised,” she said.

“The Government are full-time talking about front-line workers, and they want to give them a ‘clap hands’. Then you see Junior Ministers getting massive raises. For what? What have they done for us, the student nurses, that they’re getting a €16,000 wage increase?

“We’ve put ourselves through a four year degree but all I’m worth is a clap? Thanks! It’s ridiculous. They say that front-line workers deserve all the help they can get but it just seems that the ones who are able to give us the help we need are not going to give us the help that we deserve.”

Edel Moore is a mature student originally from Westmeath but living in Leitir Mealláin in Connemara with her husband and three children.

A third year student nurse of NUIG, she is currently on placement at the paediatric ward at UHG.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Island museum gets the green light

Declan Tierney

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An artist's impression of the proposed Inishbofin museum.

Work is expected to begin shortly on the construction of a museum on Inishbofin after planners gave the green light to the project.

The museum at Middlequarter is being developed by local historian and photographer Marie Coyne – and when completed, it will be home to items of historical significance from both Inishbofin and Inishark.

There is an existing museum on the island but it is too small to house the amount of artefacts, photographs and family histories that have been assembled over the years.

The new building will also include a photographic exhibition room, restoration workshop along with a gift shop and coffee dock. It is proposed that the new 3,400 square feet museum will be built on a site at the rear of Ms Coyne’s home.

Eamon Gavin of Eamon Gavin Architects based in Cornamona told the Connacht Tribune that this was an important project for the island and it was a welcome decision.

And he said that the green light would kickstart the process of conserving the vast and unique artefacts and archives built up over the years.

“As a practice, we have a long history of dealing with planning consultancy on unique rural sites in Connemara and the islands, therefore we fully understood how sensitive the proposed location of the project would be – the site is located in a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and National Heritage Area,” he said.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Tuam woman a picture of health a year after Covid crisis

Declan Tierney

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Tuam's Kitty Farrell with her dog Lulu a year after her Covid diagnosis.

Last year was a Mother’s Day like no other for Kitty Farrell who spent it in the back of an ambulance being rushed to hospital with Covid – but the 80 year old Tuam woman can look forward to a more sedate celebration this time out….thankfully restored back to full health.

Kitty, from Ballygaddy Road, had developed a debilitating cough the previous week – and when she was admitted to UHG on Mother’s Day, she tested positive for the coronavirus despite a lack of symptoms.

The retired businesswoman spent the next nine days seriously ill in isolation – and all alone as her four children could not visit her.

“To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to come through it but I was so sick that at times, it didn’t really matter. But the thought of passing away in isolation made a bad situation even worse,” Kitty said at the time.

A year on, she is back to full health, and while she restricts her movements, Kitty told The Connacht Tribune that she is just happy to be alive and she spends her days ‘pottering about’ and looking forward to the arrival of family members.

“Even though I don’t particularly agree with the current lockdown because everyone should be responsible for their own behaviour, I am living a life of relative isolation at the moment,” she said.

Read Kitty’s full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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