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


Better Breast Cancer Detection

Detection rates of breast cancer have soared by over 200% in Kerry since 2008, figures released by the Health Service Executive (HSE) reveal.

The alarming increase in the detection rates is due to the introduction of the Breastcheck screening program to the county in 2008, however, according to the HSE.

Last year 142 people were diagnosed as having malignant breast cancer, up by 225% on the figure of 63 in 2008. The figures also reveal that the 50 to 64 age group remains the highest risk group for the disease, with 78 women in the category diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, compared to 28 in the under-50 category, 30 in the 65 to 79 category and six in the over-80 age bracket.

"Much of the increase is due to the introduction of Breastcheck, the new mobile unit that is making it much easier to screen for breast cancer," public health nurse Mary McMahon said. 

"Having said that, breast cancer does appear to be increasing worldwide and one in eight women will be affected by it. The biggest links in lifestyle with breast cancer are stress, alcohol and smoking. All contribute.

"Having children later puts you at a higher risk as well, and women not breast feeding also run greater risk as breast feeding reduces the risk."  

The Kerryman

Eco Friendly Church Move

HOLY smoke...or not, as is soon to be the case at Sligo's Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception where new smoke-free and sootless candles will be burning brightly before Christmas.

Over 100,000 candles are used each year in the cathedral, and the latest initiative will mean an end to the dumping of the plastic cups used to house existing candles, and environmentally friendly wax will mean less cleaning of candelabras.

The candles are supplied by the St. Killian's Candle Company in Co. Tipperary, and are made by Duffy and Scott candle makers of Tullamore, Co. Offaly.

Four new candelabras to replace those at the St. Anthony, Sacred Heart, Our Lady of Lourdes and main shrine inside the front door will be supplied by Keltech Engineering of Waterford.

The bucket-like candles are already in use at St. Anne's Parish Church and are also used in St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, Pisa Cathedral in Italy and Galway Cathedral.

"The new candles will mean no more wax on floors or carpets, no cleaning of the candelabras and no dumping of plastic. All waste is recycled and this will be a much cleaner system. We hope to have the candles in place by December," explained Canon Tom Hever, administrator of St. Mary's.

The new candles will cost 40 cents each.

Sligo Champion



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TB on a Trolley

THE Irish Nurses and Midwives Organization (INMO) has called for swift and immediate action after the HSE confirmed that a patient with TB was left on a trolley in the emergency department of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital for several days.

Three people who are understood to have been in the cubicle with the infected patient are being monitored and screened for the disease.

The HSE identified and offered screening to a number of people who have been in close contact with the infected patient, including family, partners and people living with the TB patient.

The clinical director, Dr. Dominic O'Brannagain and group general manager of the Louth Meath Hospital Group, Margaret Swords said they are treating the case as “a serious adverse incident” because of the length of time the patient remained in the Emergency Department.

However, the HSE visitors or other patients attending the department are not at risk as the overall risk of transmission of the disease is considered to be low.

Tony Fitzpatrick from the INMO said the crisis had reinforced the inherent dangers involved in having a critically overcrowded emergency department.

“It is unsafe and unacceptable,” he said.

“The HSE needs to learn lessons from what is happening. The cannot keep defending the indefensible.”

Fitzpatrick said morale among staff in the hospital is extremely low as the situation seems to deteriorate every week.
Drogheda Independent

School Problems

A NEW survey of disadvantaged Northside Dublin schools found sharp increases in discipline problems, a rise in attendance issues and dramatic cuts in help for children with special needs.

The survey of school principals carried out by the North Dublin branch of the Irish National Teachers' Organization (INTO) also reveals that 20 local schools have lost a total of 59 teachers over the past three years, with 16 of them taken from special needs pupils.