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“Carols By Candlelight”, St. Kieran’s Church, Johnstown

Thurles Town to join again this year, with the rural nearby villages of Johnstown, Crosspatrick and Galmoy, for ‘Carols by Candlelight’.

The traditional ecumenical service of Christmas Carols, entitled “Carols by Candlelight”, will be hosted in St. Kieran’s Church, Johnstown, Co. Kilkenny on tomorrow night, Saturday 15th December, beginning at 8.00pm sharp; the venue and programme both being facilitated through the kindness of Fr. Frank Maher P.P. and Johnstown local parishioners.

In the ambience of candlelight only, this ecumenical service is being hosted by the Johnstown, Crosspatrick and Galmoy Community First Responders team.

Community First Responders (CFR) are volunteers who are trained to attend certain types of emergency calls, in the area where they live or work. Their aim is to reach a potential life-threatening emergency in the first vital minutes, before any ambulance crew from outer areas arrives.

This voluntary group are linked to the National Ambulance Service and aside from this, they also provide training on CPR, Defibrillator Use, Stroke Awareness and information on how to combat Choking (Heimlich Manoeuvre), to members of the public. They further ensure that all publicly accessible defibrillators are well maintained.

Performing the vocals at this seasonal seated event will be “Cephas,” (Featuring Noreen Cullinane (Ryan), brothers Edward (Ned) and John J. Cullinane), joined by the band “Sweet Freedom”, together with Meadhbh Ryan, Maria Cullinane (Johnstown) and Rachel and Shane Willoughby (Thurles); all under the superb musical direction of Leanne O’Grady (Violin), Michael O’Grady (Violin), and Killian Cullinane (Keyboards).

Included in the programme will be, “Little Drummer Boy”, “Silent Night”, “O Holy Night”, “Immanuel”, “In a Silent Town” and “Christmas Hallelujah”, all which will be amongst the many other beautiful and much loved Christmas Carols performed on tomorrow  night.

Christmas scripture readings and poetry, foretelling the birth of Christ, will feature the voices of Marie Wilson, Breda Campion, Nancy Fogarty, Mary Anne Browne, Jerry Drennan and George Willoughby.  Local primary school children, will also be participating in this most joyous of seasonal events.

While the tomorrow evenings event itself is completely free to attend, Ms Cathy Dermody [latter Chairperson Johnstown, Crosspatrick & Galmoy Community First Responders, (CFR)], confirms that any / all voluntary donations, will go in full to assist in the funding and provision of a much needed ‘Defibrillator’, for this local area.

Defibrillation, as most people are aware, is a life saving treatment for life-threatening, non-perfusing cardiac dysrhythmias. Defibrillation consists of delivering a therapeutic dose of electric current (often called a counter shock) to the heart using this device, by trained individuals. This depolarizes a critical mass of the heart muscle and allows normal sinus rhythm to be re-established, thus so often saving life.

Carols By Candlelight
As many of our readers will be aware, the original idea of ‘Carols by Candlelight’ first began in south-eastern Australia, sometime in the 19th century and was popularised in Melbourne in 1937. The tradition has since spread around the world and involves people gathering to sing carols by candlelight only, accompanied usually by a band. Indeed, one of the earliest forms of ‘Carols by Candlelight’ began when Cornish Miners in Moonta, South Australia, gathered on Christmas Eve to sing carols, lit by candles which were stuck to the brims of their safety helmets.

All persons, both adults and children, regardless of their religious persuasion, are most welcome to attend this truly most enjoyable of Christmas events, under the Direction of Mr Edward Cullinane.

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Anti-Abortion GP’s Walk Out Of Convened EGM

A group of some 50 General Practitioners (GP’s) walked out of an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM), held by the Irish College of General Practitioners today, each furious that their voices have not been heard, prior to the introduction of abortion services, latter due to be introduced in January of next year.  Some 300 doctors were in attendance at the EGM.  The group, understood to be largely made-up of anti-abortion doctors, had wanted to vote on a series of motions, but were refused that right.

(1) An existing fragment of the Hippocratic Oath & (2) Bust drawing of Hippocrates.

As our readers are aware, a General Practitioner led abortion service is expected to be introduced from January 2019, funded by taxpayers, once the legislation is passed in Dáil Éireann.

From January next, patients are most certainly going to be asking their current GP whether or not they support and participate in a General Practitioner led abortion service. Those, like myself, who condemn the introduction of abortion, will most certainly be requesting their medical records and moving on to an anti-abortion GP.  County Councillors, Politicians and their respective Political Parties who were known to support the removal of the 8th Amendment from our Constitution, can also expect to see a reduction in their Dáil membership.

Doctors and the Hippocratic Oath.
To be honest I remain unsure of just how many doctors take the Hippocratic Oath in the Ireland of the 21st century.

Hippocrates of Kos (c. 460 – c. 370 BC), also known as Hippocrates II, was a Greek physician and considered one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine. He is often referred to as the “Father of Medicine”, and a physician of experience and common sense, when recognised for his founding of the Hippocratic School of Medicine. This intellectual school revolutionized medicine in ancient Greece, establishing it as a discipline distinct from other occupations, with which it had traditionally been associated, thus establishing medicine as a profession.  By ‘profession’ I mean an occupation or career that demands specialized educational training, unlike Dáil Éireann type politics.

Very little is known about Hippocrates, but he is portrayed as being a paragon of the ancient physician, and credited with having coined the Hippocratic Oath, which is still relevant and in use today. Some 60 medical documents associated with his name, including the famous Hippocratic oath, have survived to this day. The Hippocratic oath, is an ancient code of ethics for doctors, which states:- “I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

Alas, in current times this oath is valued as more of a historic example of medical ethics and principles, rather than one to be taken completely literally.

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Irish Air Quality Facing Pollution Challenges

Irish air quality facing pollution challenges from solid fuel burning and transport emissions.

The number of monitoring stations providing real-time air quality information to the public via the EPA website will have more than doubled in 2018 (from 19 in 2017 to 45).

Air quality monitoring results in 2017 showed that the burning of solid fuel and emissions from transport, both remain the main threats to good air quality in Ireland.

An estimated 1,150 premature deaths in Ireland are identified as being directly attributable to poor air quality, according to the European Environment Agency. This is mainly due to fine particulate matter levels from solid fuel burning.

We all have a role in play in improving the quality of the air we breathe. Our home heating and transport choices directly influence the level of pollution in the air around us. This pollution affects people’s health and their life expectancy.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s annual Air Quality report, released just yesterday, shows that while Ireland’s air quality did not exceed legal limit values in 2017,  air quality in Ireland is impacting negatively on people’s health. Levels of particulate matter (dust) in our air is of a growing concern. Levels are particularly high during the winter months when the use of solid fuels such as coal, peat and wood, impact on air quality and on health, especially in small towns and villages.

In urban areas, transport related emissions of nitrogen dioxide are close to set down EU limit. The report also shows that Ireland is above the health-related and tighter World Health Organization and European Environment Agency guideline values.

In launching the report, “Air Quality in Ireland 2017 – Key Indicators of Ambient Air Quality”, Director General of the EPA Laura Burke stated: “We all expect that the air we breathe is clean but we cannot take this for granted. It is now time to tackle the two key issues impacting negatively on air quality in Ireland – transport emissions in large urban areas and emissions from solid fuel burning across the country.
While Ireland met all legal standards for air quality in 2017 at EPA monitoring stations, the levels of air pollution caused by burning solid fuel – including “back yard burning” – and by transport at some locations were above the World Health Organization air quality guidelines. The choices we all make as individuals affect the levels of pollution in the air we breathe which have an impact on people’s health and life expectancy”

Speaking at a National Air Event in Kilkenny last week, organised by the EPA, Francois Wakenhut from the European Commission’s Clean Air Unit clearly outlined the health impacts of air pollution in Ireland. He cited the European Environment Agency estimate of premature deaths occurring in Ireland each year due to fine particulate matter.

Mr Wakenhut stated: “There is an increasing awareness of the urgencies of air quality; people demand from government that we do more to deliver clean air. The European Environment Agency have estimated 1,150 premature deaths in Ireland are directly attributable to poor air quality, that is too many for Ireland and demands action”.

According to Patrick Kenny, (EPA Air Quality Manager): “The choices that each of us makes about how we heat our homes, dispose of our waste and travel to work and school can directly impact on our local air quality. Providing more localised, real-time air quality information will help people to be better informed when making these choices and will provide a better picture of what is impacting on our air quality. The National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme, managed by the EPA, is on track to deliver 16 new monitoring stations and upgrade 10 existing monitoring stations to real-time monitoring by the end of 2018.”

The Air Quality in Ireland 2017 – Key Indicators of Ambient Air Quality report is available on the EPA website. An infographic is also available: Heating your home and its impact on air quality and health – Infographic of  of home heating choices and impact on air quality and health.
The EPA continually monitors air quality across Ireland and provides the air quality index for health and real-time results on their website HERE.  Results are updated hourly on the website, and you can log on at any time to check whether the current air quality in your locality is good, fair or poor.

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Tipperary – Man Hit By Lorry Fighting For Life

Gardaí in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary are appealing for witnesses after a man was seriously injured in a traffic collision in the area late yesterday evening.

The male, a pedestrian and aged in his 30’s, at approximately 6.30pm; was struck by a lorry on the N24 at Knockanore, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary .

The pedestrian was rushed to South Tipperary General Hospital, where we understand he remains in a critical condition.

Any person with any information is now being asked to contact Clonmel Garda Station, Telephone 052 6177640 or the Garda Confidential Line Telephone 1800 666 111.

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Dementia Coffee Morning, December 5th, “Bookworm”, Thurles, Co. Tipp.

Dementia Champion, Nurse Ursula Paine Reports:-

“#understand together”, is a public support, awareness and information campaign being led by the Health Service Executive (HSE), in association with the Alzheimer Society of Ireland and Genio campaign.

Ursula Paine

To promote this awareness and information campaign, we will hold a Coffee Morning in Bookworm, Liberty Square, Thurles, on the 1st Wednesday of each month from 11.00am12.30pm.

Please Note: The first of such coffee mornings will begin on December 5th next 2018.

This first event will be attended by guests; Ms Kathy Ryan (Cashel), latter a member of the Irish Dementia Working Group, while Nurse Adviser Ms Amy Murphy of the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland will also be in attendance.

This Coffee Morning will begin with a discussion, followed by a relaxed conversation, where those attending can share their experiences, thoughts and ideas with others, or they can just sit and listen.

The leaders for this new Café experience [Ms Margaret Pollard, Ms Jennifer Manning and Ms Ursula Paine] come from a background in supporting care. They have an intimate knowledge of dementia and a real experience of talking to ‘Carers’ and people suffering from dementia.

When possible, each month, ‘Guest speakers’, will also be in attendance at these events.

While no membership fee is required, refreshments are purchased by those in attendance and ‘Carers’ are encouraged to stay and fully participate in any or all discussion.

“Dementia Champions, are passionate about those suffering from dementia and want to see our Tipperary community become fully dementia inclusive.  We will share our knowledge and drive required change through local community and business groups. We will link with other Dementia Champions to increase our network and support one another”, concluded Nurse Paine.

So, do remember the date, December 5th, 2018 next – Sure there’s nothing like a good chat!

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