Ireland's Eye: What's going on in the old sod


Dolphin lover’s sad death

The funeral of a Dublin mother who died while on holidays after fulfilling a lifelong dream took place on Monday.

Mother of two Jane O'Connor, 49, suffered a massive heart attack just hours after swimming with dolphins in a Florida water park.

The service took place in the Church of St. Paul of the Cross in Mount Argus, the same church where she got married to her husband Niall.
It was Niall who found the body of his wife of 23 years on Friday, August 13 in the holiday home where they were staying.

Along with their two teenage sons, Luke and Aaron, they had been on a two-week holiday to celebrate Jane's 50th birthday. She would have been 50 this week.

Just hours before her death, the family had spent the day in the Discovery Cove theme park. There, Jane was finally able to fulfill her dream of swimming with dolphins.

O'Connor said his wife, who was a special needs assistant, had loved dolphins and had always wanted to swim with them.

Instead of holding a party for her 50th birthday, the family decided to go to Orlando.

Jane died after returning to their rented holiday home from a meal out. She was found collapsed in a bathroom just before midnight. Efforts by emergency services to revive her failed and she was pronounced dead in hospital a short time later.

O'Connor described Jane as his "life," adding the family has lost someone "very, very special."

Her death notice states she died suddenly "on her dream trip to swim with the dolphins in Florida."
- Evening Herald
Heartless dog thief

A Northside Dublin girl has been left devastated after her beloved dog, which she bought with her Communion money, was stolen from her garden in Swords.

Alanah Gargan’s precious whippet pup, which she bought from the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) 18 months ago, was taken from the family’s garden in broad daylight on Sunday, August 1.

The 10-year-old girl is inconsolable. She isn’t sleeping and looks out the window from morning till night hoping that her dog will return.

The whippet, named Lucy, is described as being one of the most gentle of dogs and terrified of nearly everything. It is believed she may have been stolen for breeding purposes.

However, Alanah’s mother Naomi said that the pet is invaluable to her family but completely worthless to anyone else as she is neutered.
“We are just devastated,” she said.  “I can’t understand how anybody would be so cruel as to take a child’s dog.”

Lucy was badly physically abused and neglected before she was rescued by the DSPCA.

“She’s like another member of the family,” Naomi stated.   “Lucy has been my daughter’s best friend for the last 18 months.”

The devastated family have put up posters all over the North Side and have posted appeals and information on all lost dog sites in Ireland and the U.K. for fear the whippet has been taken abroad for breeding.

This type of dog is popular with “dognappers” as they are bred and their offspring sold for a hefty price.

The Gargan family are sure that Lucy hasn’t run away as she has never done so before. She is also micro-chipped so if she was found the family would have heard by now.

“Lucy got a raw deal when she was abused and neglected before,” Naomi explained.

“We had given her a good home and lots of love only for her to be taken again. It’s just awful and we can’t help but think of what state she’s in right now.”
-Dublin People

Mortality in Derry

People living in deprived areas of Derry are likely to die five years earlier than those in other areas of the city, it has emerged.
The figures were revealed in the first annual report by the director of public health.

They also show that people from all areas of the city have a lower life expectancy than the Northern Ireland average for both men and women.

In Northern Ireland, the life expectancy for males is 76.2 years and for females 81.2 years. However, in Derry, the life expectancy is 74.5 years and 79.7 years respectively.

In the Brandywell, life expectancy for males is lower again at 70 years, and in Shantallow the life expectancy for women is less than 75 years.

The report also revealed further inequalities of health in Derry's most socially disadvantaged areas.

People living in deprived areas of the city are more likely to die from an alcohol related death, be admitted to hospital for self harm or smoke during pregnancy. Teenage pregnancy rates are also higher in deprived areas of the city.

Smoking is also a huge concern for the Public Health Agency, with one in three Derry people smoking and unskilled manual workers four times more likely to be a smoker than the professional classes.

This is also putting a significant burden on the health service, costing £23 million per year.
-Derry Journal