Miracle jab Miracle Man

Ireland’s oldest man, Michael O’Connor (107), voted complete confidence in modern science this Wednesday when he presented at his doctor’s surgery in Killarney for the Covid vaccine.

The Glencar-born miracle man, who survived double pneumonia as a child, lived through the Spanish flu era and saw off a torpedo hit on a ship in WW2, took the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in his stride.

Relaxing at home in Muckross with a glass of port after his first trip outside the house since the lockdown last March, he joked: “I’m bearing up under the strain.”

He told Kerry’s Eye: “To be honest, I’m very comfortable and warm and doing fine actually. It was no different to an anti-flu injection.”

What happened in Kerry this week

A seven-year-old Tralee schoolgirl is so cross by the irresponsible behaviour of some dog owners that she has put pen to paper and contacted Kerry’s Eye to appeal to owners to please pick up after their dogs.

 

Starting a sushi business during a pandemic might sound like madness - but that’s exactly what Killarney man Ross Hurley managed just two years after undergoing life-saving cancer surgery.

 

One lucky cat is feline fine again - after a dramatic rescue freed her from the grip of a car door that slammed shut on her tail and trapped her overnight in Tralee.

 

Going back to school after almost two months of lockdown was like Christmas all over again, according to Castleisland teenager Katie Lyons, who was thrilled to be finally back at St Ita’s and St Joseph’s Special School in Tralee.

 

Moyvane parish priest Fr Kevin McNamara said that the exclusion of some family members from the funerals of loved ones during Covid is hurtful and unfair, and he is now asking the government to increase the limit on funeral attendees.

A tail of two kitties

A lucky cat is feline fine again - after a dramatic rescue freed her from the grip of a car door that slammed shut on her tail and trapped her overnight in Tralee.

And while she still has eight lives left, there was a sting in the tale of this cat’s great escape - after spending the night in the grip of the rented car, the poor puss had to have her tail entirely removed.

All has ended well for the anonymous puss, christened Valentina by her rescuers, because Wendy O’Connor of Animal Help Net Kerry has sourced a happy-ever-after home for her.

Over 85s ‘sitting by phone for Covid vaccine’

IT’S LIKE some over 85s have been sitting by the phone waiting to be called for their Covid-19 vaccine, one doctor’s surgery said as preparations were being made for administering the jab at GP clinics across the county this week.

So far, indications from patients in that age group reveal overwhelming support for the vaccine with over 95% of patients who’ve been contacted so far saying they will have the jab.

At the Clounalour Medical Centre at Centrepoint on the John Joe Sheehy Road in Tralee, Dr Gerry O’Shea was eagerly awaiting his first delivery of the Pfizer- BioNTech vaccine next Friday morning.

Huge support for cancer victim Joan

THERE’S HUGE support for retired District Nurse Joan Lucey among the community she served with dedication for many years, a local councillor has said.

Joan Lucey (73), of Cooleen, Dingle, who has terminal cancer and is suing her former employer the HSE and two laboratories in relation to her cervical smear slides, has pleaded through her legal team for mediation talks to begin in her case, which is due to start at the High Court on February 26.

Her senior counsel, Liam Reidy, told the court on Thursday that Ms Lucey was ‘on her deathbed’ and had invited the parties to the mediation table.

Killorglin teens reach gold standard

Killorglin Community College students Lauren Victor and Natasha Myers successfully completed five challenges to achieve the prestigious Gaisce Gold President’s Award.

Gaisce – The President’s Award is a direct challenge from President of Ireland Michael D Higgins to all young people, to dream big and realise their full potential.

Gold awardees Natasha and Lauren took part in a broad range of activities; training underage clubs, art classes, Tidy Towns Committee, helping out in the school library and taking part in the Erasmus programme.

Donie’s terrifying battle with depression

CNN reporter and Cahersiveen man Donie O’Sullivan has told how he still battles depression and anxieties, despite his extraordinary success as a journalist.

Mr O’Sullivan shot to international celebrity status as he reported live from the frontline for CNN during the storming of the US Capitol on January 6 by a mob incited by former US President Donald Trump.

But, in a frank interview with the Irish Times, Mr O’Sullivan said his most frightening moments were not during the Capitol riots but during his own struggle with mental health issues.

Iveragh beauty to lure more eco-tourists

The stunning South Kerry landscape will be promoted to more eco-tourists after lockdown following the launch of a brand new campaign between Ireland and Wales.

As part of the LIVE (Llŷn IVeragh Ecomuseums) project, a group of energetic horticulturists and nature lovers are now exploring sections of the Iveragh Peninsula to ‘gather knowledge’ and explore how best to market the area for a more sustainable kind of tourism in the years ahead.

Focusing on the likes of nature walks, bird watching and mountaineering, organisers are hoping to reduce the prevalence of over-tourism in South Kerry, by encouraging more environmentally aware visitors during off-peak times of the year and learning from similar success stories in the Welsh speaking region of Llŷn in the UK.

Fire Service now stretched to limit

THE county’s assistant chief fire officer has warned about escalating gorse and scrubland fires after Kerry Fire and Rescue Service had to deal with 28 ‘out of control’ fires in the space of 24 hours alone, as firefighters battled 37 such incidents last week.

On Wednesday of last week, crews from eight of the 10 Kerry fire stations were involved in fighting gorse fires across the county from Tralee to South and West Kerry overnight, including one fire that came within metres of homes in Dingle.

Senior Assistant Chief Fire Officer Maurice O’Connell said the service was stretched to its limits, reducing its ability and ‘seriously hampering’ its capability of being able to deal with other incidents and emergencies such as road traffic accidents and house fires.

Most dangerous road closed for THREE years

Kerry’s most dangerous road will have been shutdown almost THREE years before its planned reopening in 2022.

This week, an urgent €2.5m was secured to finish reconstruction works along the notorious Rathscannell Road that connects Ballybunion, Ballyduff, Causeway and Lisselton to Tralee.

However, the road has been shut to passing traffic since July 2019 after several near-death car crashes forced Kerry County Council to take immediate action - meaning it will have been shut for almost three years by the time work is completed.

‘Tell us what you want from us’

IT’S BEEN at the heart of the community for 130 years and now Cumann Luthchleas Gael Daingean Uí Chúis is hoping to forge even stronger links with the grassroots and is asking people what it needs to do to achieve that.

The Dingle club is going directly to the people to ask them what they want from their club and they want everyone to have their say by completing a short online survey.

It’s all part of its Strategic Review which will inform the development of its five-year strategic plan and they want to hear from as many people as possible, including players, parents, coaches, supporters, volunteers, teachers, club members, non-members, ex-members, people living in the area and even ex-pats.

New rules to help sign language users

A NEW guidelines template to help Government Departments and State agencies provide services through Irish Sign Language (ISL) will help end the ‘blatant discrimination’ against members of the deaf community, a Kerry campaigner has said.

Willie White is the founder and general manager of the Kerry Deaf Resource Centre, one of three organisations that designed the guidelines template being sent to Government agencies to help them meet their legal obligations when dealing with members of the public who use ISL.

ISL was officially recognised as the third official language of the State in the Irish Sign Language Act 2017 and the formal commencement of the act was announced by Minister for Disability Anne Rabbitte on December 16.

A school bus surprise for Rónán’s return!

When the school bus pulled up in front of teenager Rónán Redican’s home last Thursday morning, he couldn’t hide his excitement - it had been a tough last two months for the Nano Nagle student, who doesn’t really understand what Covid is, and is unable to express his frustration at not being able to see his friends.

The 15-year-old is thrilled to be back, and he loves school, being back in the class and meeting his teachers and friends. His dad, Ronan, said that it has been hard on his son, who has autism and down syndrome, as Rónán didn’t understand why his routine had changed, and Rónán is non-verbal, so he can’t explain to his parents how he is feeling.

Dad Ronan said that his son “did get upset and frustrated a number of times. When he’s in school, the SNAs and teachers know what to do, but the school was bound by government decisions, and with the delay in reopening, a lot of us were in the dark.”