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John Wall from Quin. Photograph by John Kelly

Health campaigner calls on communities to remember the vulnerable in Covid 19 pandemic

AN EAST Clare man who is a prominent health campaigner and terminal cancer patient is appealing for people to consider the vulnerability of those who are immunocompromised and at high risk from complications of Covid 19.

John Wall from Quin said the responsibility to curb the spread of the Coronavirus lies with everyone in the community, and that those who are healthy and likely to only experience mild symptoms, should remember others whose lives are at risk from the illness. Mr Wall, who has terminal prostate cancer and has been actively working with the Health Minister to cut down on red tape for those accessing terminal illness medical cards, also said he believes the care-taker government should remain in place and government formation put on ice until the Covid 19 crisis is under control. He said that he and others coping with terminal illness would advocate as strongly as possible on the issue, in the interests of public health.

“I am immunocompromised, and so are hundreds if not thousands of others. For people like myself, it’s a significant danger to life.”

Mr Wall appealed to those who felt the Coronavirus wasn’t not a concern for their own long-term health to consider those, like himself, for whom the infection was a serious threat.

“The point [is] that we can choose to turn a blind eye because we don’t see it, or hasn’t directly affected us yet” he said. “But as with any virus of this nature, if we don’t heed the advice, it will be coming to your door. It’s as simple as that. Maybe not directly, but certainly indirectly. And it’s important for any one of us that has chosen to speak up and to speak out, to keep getting that message across that this is not something that’s going to affect somebody else. It affects absolutely us a nation, each and every one of us.

“Vicky Phelan has been giving quite an amount of advice – she’s immunocompromised herself – on how she thinks that the government could implement various procedures and policies that would that would help us all.”

With regard to the response of the government and the fact that the administration is only a care-taker one, Mr Wall said he believed the current “holding pattern” is the most appropriate for the time being.

“We need to work together. It’s not something to play politics with. I think the caretaker government that’s in situ at the moment is probably the best people to handle this, rather than a change at the helm at this point in time, I think will probably cause chaos.” He also dismissed the idea of a unity government: “It’s not about a national unity government. I don’t think that’s ever going to work. It’s not going to work now. It’s not going to work next month or next year. It’s not going to happen.”


About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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