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Around Ireland Deadly wait for Galway tumor girl

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Patrick Markey

A 15-year-old girl died six months after being diagnosed with a brain tumor while waiting for an appointment with Beaumont Hospital in Dublin that could have saved her life.

The Irish Examiner reports that an inquest in Galway heard Teresa Curneen had a superficial tumor on a part of her brain that doctors could have operated on. A coroner said it was extraordinary that the girl had spent six months waiting for an appointment at the national neurological center.

"What is unusual and disturbing about this is that no appointment was given six months after her first epileptic seizure," he said.

"Had she been admitted to Beaumont, this tumor would have been amenable to surgery. I think it would be reasonable to recommend some form of protocol to be put in place where children should be given priority, not just to get appointments."

He said he wasn’t apportioning any blame but merely highlighting this in the public domain in the hope that it wouldn’t happen again.

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A jury hearing the inquest called for the establishment of protocol so children and minors would not have to wait for medical treatment.

The inquest into the death of the teenager at her Galway home last May heard how she had been diagnosed as having epilepsy the previous November and had been on medication up until her death.

She spent the day before her death at home with her family. The following morning the teen was found dead by her sisters.

Criminal justice

A Blanchardstown man has been jailed for four and a half years for an assault that left another man with his ear cut off and his face requiring 60 stitches for knife slashes over a drug debt owed to a Dublin criminal.

Herman White, who is 22, pleaded guilty recently at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm on Derek McGuinness. The Northside People reports that authorities charged the victim was a drug addict at the time and owed money to a Dublin drug dealer.

Garda said White and an accomplice approached McGuinness in a park and hit him across the head with an iron bar and continued to beat him on the ground.

The other man kicked McGuinness in the head and took out a mobile phone on which he called the criminal to whom the victim owed money.

"We have Smiley here. Do you want to come up to deal with him now?" the dealer was asked, according to Garda.

When the dealer said he couldn’t come to the park, the other man said to him: "Listen to this." He put the phone on the ground and both men beat McGuinness for the benefit of the criminal on the other end.

Garda said a third man arrived wielding a Stanley knife and cut off McGuinness’s ear, as well as gashing his face.

White has 11 previous convictions, had been in and out of jail for the last six years.

Changing traditions

A Derry academic researcher claims the development of the Irish tourist industry and the increase in Irish theme pubs is changing the nature of Irish pub culture — one of the nation’s major selling points.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that Dr. Mark McGovern, a lecturer in the social sciences at Liverpool College, has been studying the role of Irish pub culture in the Irish tourism industry.

He recently reported his findings in a paper called "One Singer, One Song: Irish Pub Culture, Irish Identity and the Impact of Tourism."

McGovern told the paper tourism has been one of the largest growth areas in the Irish economy over the last decade and would remain the most prominent economic sector in the next three to five years.

But he said the traditional Irish "session" had changed as a result of the demands from tourists.

"Irish traditional musicians and dancers are becoming cultural workers like they never were before," he said.

"I am not suggesting that this is necessarily a problem — in many ways it has created employment in the performers’ home locations. But I am arguing that aspects of the session are being changed by it."

The traditional music was a participatory culture, where everybody would do a turn, he said, and it is becoming much more of a player-audience situation.

"Also, the range of cultural performance has lessened because people don’t recognize the nuances and variety of different styles," he said.

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