Category: Archive

Around Ireland Mystery illnesses on Limerick farms

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Stephen McKinley

Askeaton and Cappagh in County Limerick have seen outbreaks of mysterious animal illnesses on farms recently.

The Sheehy family have had to put down one sick horse, and seven others are ill with a severe skin disorder that has defied diagnosis.

And last week, Cappagh families voiced their concern about the high incidence of cancer in humans in the area — locals speculated that there may be a connection between the illnesses.

Limerick GP and Health Board member Dr. Richard O’Flaherty has called for a public inquiry.

"Something abnormal is happening in Askeaton," he said.

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The seven Sheehy horses are suffering from a distressing skin sickness that is leaving their flesh raw and exposed.

Veterinarians have been stumped by the problem — yet two more horses from the same paddock, which the Sheehys had kept inside for the last few weeks, are in perfect health. This has led the vets to ponder some sort of sunshine-related condition.

The Sheehys say that they have lost 90 animals to mysterious illnesses in the last 10 years, according to the Limerick Leader. At least 39 people in a four square-mile area have developed cancer in recent years.

Dr. Kevin Kelleher, director of Public Health with the Mid-Western Health Board, has written to Dr. O’Flaherty asking him to supply him with the information on which he based his call and asking for details of the individuals concerned. But he added that if the doctor has only speculative evidence, he should make that fact public as well.

Suicides on rise

Already a source for considerable concern, the suicide rate in Northern Ireland has increased again.

Latest statistics show that the rise is happening even though men appear to have better mental health than women.

The suicide rate for men aged 15 to 24 more than doubled to 16 per 100,000 of the population between 1971-99 and grew to a record high of 26 per 100,000 for men aged 25 to 44, according to the Office for National Statistics report "Social Focus on Men".

Figures for women show that in the 15-to-24-year-old category, just 4.1 per 100,000 committed suicide in 1999, rising to 6.5 per 100,000 for the 25-to-44 age group.

A spokeswoman for the Samaritans in Northern Ireland said young people, particularly young men, are under increasing stress.

"Young people are under far greater pressure these days to be successful than they would have been in the past," she said.

Newsroom punch-up

Last week, an editorial meeting at the Sunday Independent newspaper in Dublin apparently erupted into violence when the editor-in-chief, ‘ngus Fanning, attacked operations editor Campbell Spray, punching and wrestling him to the ground.

The alleged incident resulted in a bloody nose and other injuries before the two men were pulled apart by other staff.

While a Sunday Independent spokesperson was unavailable, a National Union of Journalists spokesperson said that an investigation into the incident is under way.

While there’s never a good time to punch out ones colleagues at work, this is a particularly sensitive time at the Independent because a verdict is expected from the Employment Appeals Tribunal over former employee Liz Allen.

Allen alleges that bullying and harassment by editorial staff forced her to resign earlier this year.

Fishers thankful

Stoic in the face of tragedy, Roy Fisher has spoken from his Fermanagh home for the first time about the helicopter accident in January that killed his world-famous rally driver father, Bertie, and his brother and sister, Mark and Emma.

Only Roy and his mother, Gladys, survived, both with serious injuries.

Roy is back at work at his PR job with Aiken Promotions, and made a public appearance at Ballinamallard football grounds to thank locals who have stood by him and his mother.

A Trust Fund has been set up that will finance projects that were dear to the hearts of Bertie, Mark and Emma.

Grants will be awarded on a cross-community basis to young people doing voluntary work overseas. The Trust will also support the development of safety initiatives and training for young people in motorsports.

"It will help young drivers like Mark, or help people to work for the Leprosy Mission, which was near to Emma’s heart, for example. These were all things that were personal to Emma and Mark, and, of course, Dad," Roy said.

Galway pulls back party welcome

Publicans in Galway have requested extra powers to ban stag and hen parties from their bars, as well as large groups of travelers, the Tuam Herald has reported.

In a public meeting, bar owners said that large, rowdy groups do more harm than good to the local economy and claimed that travelers had been exploiting the Equal Status Act and filing suits for discrimination when refused a drink.

105 and counting

Tipperary woman Eileen Kenny celebrated her birthday last week — her 105th, in fact.

The Kilcarron native has lived through the entire sweep of 20th Century history, and remembers the Easter Rising, two world wars and many other events.

She is still active, and often takes a walk down her long driveway to chat with neighbors, never mind the games of football she plays in the corridor of her house with her two beloved great-grandchildren, Nicholas and James Corcoran, from Birr.

Friends and relatives arrived with gifts, including a beautiful frilly lace tablecloth for when she likes to entertain.

She told the Nenagh Guardian that she attributes her longevity to never smoking, occasional drinking, and hard work with no pampering whatsoever.

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