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Ennis woman among expats honoured in Abu Dhabi

AN ENNIS woman is among a group of expats living in Abu Dhabi who have been honoured for their work in raising awareness of mental health. Laura Brennan, originally from Toberteascain and daughter of Martin and Cora, is the vice chairperson of the voluntary group Darkness Into Light Abu Dhabi. The group who dedicate their time to raising awareness and providing accessible support for their community in the United Arab Emirates have been presented with the Spirit of the Community Award at the Pride of Abu Dhabi awards. They began work in 2015 in an effort to bring the Pieta House Darkness into Light walk to Abu Dhabi and last year’s walk saw more than 700 people take part. However, their work is about so much more than the walk. They strive to provide free and accessible support and to unite people who are suffering distress through various events such as the annual Light Ball Abu Dhabi and monthly Tea …

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‘I can see the difference it makes to people’s lives’

WHEN Government ministers or business leaders talk about prioritising what they call STEM, it shows a very one-dimensional view of what Irish education should be. Such a view isn’t particularly concerned with developing people, rather with creating human units of economic activity but, thankfully, people with a more balanced view of young people are also active in Irish schools and classrooms. Cora Guinnane is one of them, a woman who serves as chaplain of St Caimin’s in Shannon, and whose enthusiasm for what she does is very obvious. “I love chaplaincy, love it. I really believe in it. I can see the difference it makes to people’s lives. I see the kids at a different level. I would know the kids who might come to school without a breakfast or the kids where there is a bereavement or separation. “There could be addiction, just the kids that are struggling with emotional difficulties, their well-being mightn’t be great or their mental …

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Estlin’s light shines on this Christmas

EVEN in the darkest days a gesture of kindness can bring some light. An Ennistymon family who tragically lost their daughter last year, are helping to make this Christmas a little bit brighter for others in an amazing act of generosity. Amy Dutil-Wall and her partner Vincent Wall from Ennistymon have endured the deepest of tragedies with the loss of Estlin Luna just before her fourth birthday in a car crash last year that also left Vincent fighting for his life. In honour of Estlin, the family have decided to donate some Christmas gifts to two worthy young girls around her age. Amy explains that she got the idea after seeing a number of offers of help to those in need on the Clare Free to a Good Home site. “It was something I was thinking of doing for a while, to give a gift in honour of Estlin and I thought why not this year. The holidays can be …

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Adoption is a “terrible option”

Clarecastle resident Geraldine Gregan made the difficult decision to give her baby up for adoption, a decision she has regretted ever since. Her pregnancy as a single woman brought shame, she was branded as damaged goods and had to hide out half way across the country for the last month of her pregnancy, writes Carol Byrne. Originally from County Cork, Geraldine Gregan acquired a rare job as a quality manager in a dairy business in Cavan. After receiving a BSc in Dairy Science, her job security, being a single woman, was put in jeopardy when she became pregnant in the mid-1980s. “The relationship had ended when I realised I was pregnant. I felt a deep sense of guilt and sadness. It was so wrong and selfish of me to be bringing a baby into the world that would not have a dad. My own dad passed away when I was 16 and I still missed him. I also felt sadness for …

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A Race Against Time For Rohingyas

WHITEGATE native Marie Madden joined Concern Worldwide as their communications officer last October and has spoken to The Clare Champion about her experience working for the NGO, particularly in dealing with the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh. CONCERN have recently launched the Bangladesh Monsoon Appeal as nearly one million Rohingya people face further catastrophe at the makeshift refugee camp they are currently occupying in the coastal region of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh. Marie Madden, from Whitegate, has just returned from a two week trip to Cox’s Bazar where she has seen first hand the conditions these people, primarily made up of women and children, have been living in. She explains how these people have already been through so much pain and suffering and now stand to lose the makeshift homes they have made in monsoon rains. She explained that the Rohingyas are an ethnic minority based in Myanmar, and despite having been there for generations they don’t have citizenship and are …

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Dr Christina Larkin

‘It’s never too late’ for education

WITH Leaving Certificate students across the county preparing for the next stage of their lives, they would do well to listen to the advice of one Ennis-based woman who certainly knows a thing or two about studying. Christina Larkin has become the first Doctor of Nursing to graduate from University College Dublin. As she says herself, she was “a very average student” while in secondary school; however, at 46, she has gone on to graduate with the highest educational honour. Dr Larkin hopes that by sharing her story, it will show people that there are many ways of achieving what you want and that it is never too late to follow your dreams. “I am also quite excited to be speaking about my study at the Horatio Congress for European Psychiatric Nurses in the Faroe Islands in May. I have become a member of the European Violence in Psychiatry Research Group so I am looking forward to meeting other researchers …

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New Research Paper Highlights Inequity in Anomaly Scan Offering

A NEW research paper published by the Irish Medical Journal, which was co-written by a South East Clare obstetrician, has revealed pregnant women living outside of Dublin only have a 38% chance of being offered an anomaly scan in the public system. Parteen native Dr Karen McNamara is a specialist registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology and a clinical research fellow in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at University College Cork. She was involved in compiling the recently-published research, Maternity Ultrasound in the Republic of Ireland 2016; A Review. Dr McNamara noted the number of women being offered an anomaly scan outside of Dublin stands at 38%, a number that has remained largely unchanged despite it being highlighted in previous pieces of research in 2007, 2012 and 2013. She said the review she conducted with Dr Deirdre Hayes Ryan, Dr Noirin Russell, Professor Louise Kenny and Dr Keelin O’Donoghue, showed an inequity in the service that pregnant women are receiving; most notably, that 100% of public patients are being offered the anomaly scan if they attend maternity services in Dublin but only 38% are offered it elsewhere in the country. …

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Life after prostate cancer

MARK Bowers was shocked when consultant urological surgeon, Garrett Durkan looked him in the eye in the Mid-Western Radiation Oncology Centre, Limerick and confirmed he had prostate cancer.

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