Ireland's Eye- A round up of top Irish news stories


U.S. Surgery Helps Child
A NINE-year-old Co. Limerick boy looks set to see his dream of kicking a ball with his friends become a reality after successfully undergoing pioneering surgery in the U,S.

Glen Wilkie from Foynes was born with cerebral palsy, a condition which had prevented him from being able to sit or walk unaided.

However, having undergone major surgery at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in Missouri, his mother Margaret said she is confident that her only son will take his first steps unaided within the next two years.

“It is a definite that he will walk, not straight away – within two years or less. They are saying two years, the physiotherapy is what is going to count,” said Margaret, who is currently with Glen at the Hampton Inn and Suites hotel in Missouri.

Although Glen underwent surgery lasting four hours the determined child was back in his wheelchair with four days, skating round on an ice rink, no less.

“Calpol is what he is taking for pain relief. He has come out of it very well. His age has a lot to do with it and his understanding,” Margaret noted.

The only person happier than Margaret about the surgery is Glen himself. “On the morning of his surgery, he was jumping around with excitement, telling everyone it was the best day of his life because he’d waited so long for his operation,” she said.

A few weeks ago, it looked like Glen’s operation was in jeopardy as Margaret said she feared she could not raise the 60,000 to cover travel and operation expenses.

The journey was made possible, however, thanks to the dogged determination of Margaret and her husband David to give Glen his best chance of independence – and by the generosity of the local community, of the wider community and of strangers.

Glen’s cerebral palsy has meant that he has never been able to walk on his own, but gets about using a frame or wheelchair. The hope is that the neurosurgery pioneered in St. Louis will change that.

“Glen basically couldn’t get his heels on the ground, his legs were pure stiff but straight away after the surgery, I was totally amazed at how loose his legs were,” said Margaret.
During the surgery, a small incision was made in Glen’s back to allow the surgeons to disconnect the nerve endings causing the stiffness in his legs.

“It’s major surgery but it is a very, very simple procedure to help children with Glen’s condition to walk,” said Margaret.

Glen is due to undergo further surgery on December 4 during which his hamstrings will be lengthened at the back of his knees, as well as his heel chords.

Limerick Leader

Return of the Duck
A HEADLINE-grabbing, globetrotting duck ornament that went missing from the bonnet of a car visiting Tullamore has been returned safe and sound.

Wicklow native Charlie von Metzradt has travelled some 2,500 miles over the past number of months, always with the light up yellow duck ornament on the bonnet of his car. The duck has visited, among other destinations, the Burning Man Festival in Nevada, Wales, London and places all over Ireland.

On November 10 von Metzradt visited Charleville Castle on the outskirts of Tullamore for a Burning Man decompression event, and it was at about 7 p.m. that evening the duck -- or lack of it -- was noticed.

Presuming it was a prank, von Metzradt let the matter lie. However, over a week on from the incident the bonnet of his red Ford Fiesta was still bare, even though he'd returned for a second visit to Charleville Castle.

Von Metzradt took to the Internet looking for the safe return of the unusual car ornament, and the story was also picked up as news locally. Eventually came the news everyone had been waiting for -- the duck had been returned.

Charleville Castle volunteer Ausra Jevelaygyte said she was taking rubbish out when she saw a car stopping by the castle gates and a man putting the duck ornament on a table at the gates. She said she didn't get to speak to the man before he left, but she immediately recovered the duck and brought it to the volunteers' kitchen in the castle.

"It looks ok," she said. "There's a little bit of dirt on it, but no damage."

"I'm very pleased," von Metzradt said on hearing the good news.

Offaly Independent

Empty Stores

LEITRIM has one of the highest rate of vacancies in commercial spaces around the country.
A recent survey by GeoDirectory pinpoints that 11 percent of commercial stock is vacant in Ireland, but the figure is higher in Leitrim, which along with Sligo has a 14 percent vacancy rate.

Counties such as Dublin, Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Galway and Carlow are on 12 percent vacancy, while Longford is on 11 percent and Cavan has just nine percent.

Retail, a sector which has taken a particular hammering in the recession, dominates the empty space stakes.

Some consultants blame much of the surplus on the apartment building splurge which saw developers add ground floor retail to almost every single development, whether it was required or not.