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


Kennedy, who is described as a teacher on the marriage certificate and his wife as a civil servant, was acting parish priest of Aughanagh which takes in Ballinafad, Ballyrush and Corrigeenroe since 2005. 

Since his resignation from the priesthood, Mr. Kennedy has been working as an invigilator at the Yeats Society in Sligo.

The Sligo Champion

Testing Baby Hearing
PARENTS of all babies born at the Midland Regional Hospital Mullingar are being offered a hearing screening test prior to being discharged. The test is available free-of-charge for all babies.
In Ireland, one to two babies in every 1,000 are born with a hearing loss in one or both ears. Most of the babies are born into families with no history of hearing loss.

The program is aiming to identify hearing impairment as soon as possible after birth, to give babies a better chance of developing speech and language skills and to make the most of social and emotional interaction from an early age. Babies who do not have clear response in one or both ears from the initial screening will be referred to the Audiology Service for further hearing tests.

The hearing test will be carried out by a trained hearing screener, while the baby is settled or sleeping, usually at the mother's bedside. The screener uses two non-invasive tests to screen hearing, with neither test causing any discomfort to the baby.

The rates of babies needing further referral to the Audiology Service is estimated at about two to four percent of all babies tested, although it is important to note that referral for further tests will not necessarily mean that a baby will have a hearing loss.

The program is already in place in HSE South where up to 19,000 babies per year are screened at the six maternity hospitals.

Westmeath Independent

Devastating Cutback
A VULNERABLE four-year-old Roosky child could become the first casualty of stringent HSE cutbacks. His distraught family is pleading with Health Minister Dr. James Reilly to intervene in the battle to get the support needed for his round the clock care.

Liam Hall has a very complex neurological condition. For the past four years he has been receiving care from the Jack and Jill Children's Foundation.

But that ended on his fourth birthday last week as he is now outside the charity’s criteria to support and fund families of children with severe neurological conditions from birth to four years old. This has prompted his extremely worried parents, Aine and Brian, to issue an appeal to Reilly to replace these hours and take over Liam's care.

The HSE currently provides 10 hours in home nursing per week to Liam, in two slots of five hours, that must be delivered between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., with no flexibility. Liam's condition is complicated by softening of the tissues of the larynx, sub clinical and clinical seizures and visual impairment, which means that he needs 24/7 care.

According to Aine and Brian, while they are happy with what the local HSE nurses provide, the timetable is too regimental and does not provide any of the vital night support they need, in contrast with the flexibility of the Jack and Jill service. Liam, who is tube fed, has a pre-school placement, but last year due to ill health he attended school a total of 15 days between September and March.

“There is absolutely no way that we can survive on the current allocation of hours. Two blocks of five hours, Monday to Friday is nowhere near enough. We are so fearful for the future. I do not know how the minister can expect us to survive with such little help,” Aine said.

“We are going to need more hours as Liam gets older and I cannot believe how hard we are having to fight for what should be an automatic right for our child,” she said.

The family is determined to continue to do everything in its power to ensure that Liam continues to receive the best care it can give.

“On a good night, he wakes up three times, which is just exhausting for us and as Liam gets older we’re going to need more support hours to keep going. This cannot come down to money. It would cost the state almost ten times more if Liam were to go into hospital,” she said.

Roscommon Herald