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Loneliness a silent killer

There is a largely unacknowledged silent killer of older people – and it’s called loneliness. A 2000 study by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland found that more than eight times the number of older people living alone felt lonely compared to the general population. A European study has linked isolation to mental health problems, including depression and self-harm, (Eurostat 2011), and more recently, a UK survey found that social isolation among older people was associated with increased risk of death. Loneliness may be lethal and is currently affecting at least 25,000 older people in Ireland. This is the number of calls Senior Help Line – Ireland’s only national telephone listening service for older people – received last year. In most calls loneliness was either expressed or implied. On Thursday, the 25th anniversary of UN International Day of Older Persons, the Minister of State Kathleen Lynch will promote the value of contact between people of all ages by joining …

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Stoves must be installed properly

As winter approaches, OFTEC, which represents the domestic oil heating and cooking industry in Ireland, is warning householders of the dangers of solid and multi-fuel stoves. This follows an increasing number of incidents across the country this year, including high-profile incidents in Wexford. There has been major growth in the sales of stoves in Ireland in recent years and as many as 40,000 are estimated to be sold here annually. Research commissioned by Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week (Monday to Saturday) illustrates a low awareness amongst consumers of the connection between carbon monoxide and fossil fuels, including home heating oil, with only 50% of consumers aware of the potential risk with oil heating and just 40% for coal. OFTEC Ireland manager, David Blevings said, “Whilst solid fuel stoves have fast become a trendy centre-piece in the homes of many families, people need to be aware of the dangers and ensure they are installed and maintained correctly. If a flue is installed …

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Twelve is a good number for dogs

Its been a while since I took over Bev’s column to tell you of my latest travels. I’m only thrilled this time as I’m going back to one of my favourite hotels, The Twelve, in Barna. Last Christmas, my humans took a photo of me wearing my Santa hat while posing on a copy of The Clare Champion and entered it in The Twelve’s Christmas competition. Despite the stiff opposition, I won! The prize was a night at the hotel with dinner in The West restaurant. It’s a terrible state of affairs though that I’m not allowed in the restaurant, even though I’m a Westie. Maybe I’ll get a little doggie bag. They really welcome dogs at The Twelve but I’ve heard they’ve upped their game with a new Dog Concierge service. It sounds wonderful and I had to try it out. As an added bonus, would you believe that RTÉ are sending a film crew along to record my …

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At the Dog Concierge, posing for my closeup.

Twelve is a good number for dogs

It’s been a while since I took over Bev’s column to tell you of my latest travels. I’m only thrilled this time as I’m going back to one of my favourite hotels, The Twelve, in Barna. Last Christmas, my humans took a photo of me wearing my Santa hat while posing on a copy of The Clare Champion and entered it in The Twelve’s Christmas competition. Despite the stiff opposition, I won! The prize was a night at the hotel with dinner in The West restaurant. It’s a terrible state of affairs though that I’m not allowed in the restaurant, even though I’m a Westie. Maybe I’ll get a little doggie bag. They really welcome dogs at The Twelve but I’ve heard they’ve upped their game with a new Dog Concierge service. It sounds wonderful and I had to try it out. As an added bonus, would you believe that RTÉ are sending a film crew along to record my …

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Patients sought for RTÉ medical series

A new RTÉ medical series is making its final call for people to book free doctors’ appointments in North Clare this weekend. You Should Really See a Doctor has travelled around the country with its mobile clinic over the summer and the final show in the series will be filmed in Lisdoonvarna on Saturday (September 19). Dr Pixie McKenna and Dr Phil Kieran will be at the Matchmaking Festival, offering on-the-spot consultations and health checks. “We are particularly interested in hearing from people who have researched their symptoms online and would like a real doctor’s advice. “Most of us have been there; you feel a mild pain in the head and next thing you’re reading an internet article about a rare tropical disease that you think you might have. From stomach problems to sleep issues to skin problems – the real doctors want to hear from you,” a spokesperson for the show stated. The doctors are happy to hear from …

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Scariff Foróige ploughing ahead

Scariff Foróige Club has been chosen as one of four youth clubs across the country that will work with Diarmuid Gavin to design and create a garden, based on the theme of time travel, at the National Ploughing Championships. The enterprising youth club supports young people from Tulla, Feakle, Tuamgraney, Bodyke, Scariff and Mountshannon. Nine Foróige members, with youth leaders, parents and local flower expert Martina O’Brien, will travel to Rathaniskha this weekend to build the garden and have it ready for viewing from Tuesday next. Speaking to The Clare Champion, youth leader Tracy Doyle said the nine young people are “thrilled” to be working on the special garden and competing against the other three youth clubs. In May 2014, the youths, who are all aged between 12 and 17, were offered a small piece of publicly-owned land at the Connaught Road housing estate by residents to plant and develop. Tracy said the youth club members were in the process …

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Life is a barrel of laughs for Mullagh comedian

TWO days in Mullagh is George Casey’s ideal method of relaxing and staying in touch with his roots. Having emigrated to the US in 1970, the West Clare man has made a living on the folk singing circuit and, since 1985, as a full-time comedian. When he spoke to The Clare Champion last week, he was preparing to leave for Copenhagen the following day, where he linked up with the cruise ship company who employ him as their on-board comedian. Now aged 64, Casey went to primary school in Mullagh and secondary school at St Flannan’s College. He has fond memories of his native village. “We were right in the square. The church was next door and we had the shop with the petrol pumps and a furniture store,” he explained, adding that his parents were Sonny and Tessie Casey, while George was one of six children. His brother, Michael, still lives in Mullagh. “In my comedy act in the …

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Kildysart’s Fr Michael enjoys transatlantic life

WHEN he left Ireland for Arizona in August 1958, the then 24-year-old Fr Michael O’Grady thought it would be at least 1965 before he would set foot in Kildysart again. He was one of four newly minted priests who sailed the Atlantic, having spent six years at the seminary in Carlow. One of the four was Fr Tom O’Dea from Newmarket, who is now based in Ballynacally. “All four us set off for Arizona from Cobh. The bishop wouldn’t let us fly. He wouldn’t pay for us, probably and then he made us go by train from New York to Tucson. I’d say we were two days on the train. We had been seven days on the boat,” Fr Michael recalled in his house in The Square, Kildysart last week. A Harty Cup winner with St Flannan’s College in 1952, Fr Michael also played minor football (three years) and hurling for Clare. His GAA skills didn’t desert Fr Michael entirely …

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