Here is this week’s People’s Letters Page…
Congratulations to all athletes on their fantastic performances at the Paralympics.
Team Ireland were outstanding at this year’s games which were the largest ever.
4,537 athletes took part, which is almost 200 more than took part in the last games in Rio in 2016 and far more than the original 600 athletes that competed in Rome in 1960.
Paralympians truly are super humans and I think the Paralympics might have changed a lot of people’s attitudes.
Paralympians strive for equal treatment with non-disabled Olympic athletes, but there is a large funding gap between Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
We have seen how the Irish Men’s and Women’s football teams brought about equality in a real and meaningful way last week with the introduction of equal pay for both.
Hopefully we may see the same sort of parity introduced for Paralympians and Olympic athletes.
Clonskeagh, Dublin 14
I would be grateful for the opportunity to highlight to readers of the Dublin People a forthcoming webinar taking place on heart valve disease.
As more and more of us live longer, heart valve disease is increasingly an issue that we may need to face. Indeed, it has been described as the next cardiac epidemic.
The webinar, “Listen to Your Heart”, is taking place on Thursday September 16 at 7pm, as part of Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week.
It will be presented by consultant cardiologist, Dr Samer Arnous, and will focus on the signs and symptoms of heart valve disease and how it is detected and treated. The patient perspective will also feature and members of the public will have the opportunity to put their questions to Dr Arnous.
Heart valve disease – where valves in the heart are damaged or stiffened, causing reduced or blocked blood flow – is common, serious, but treatable.
Symptoms include breathlessness and becoming dizzy. If readers over the age of 65 years are finding that small everyday tasks are feeling more like an ordeal, it might be a good idea to ask their GP for a stethoscope check – at least once a year.
However, symptoms are not always present and, so, as a matter of good heart health management, I would encourage all those over 65 years to try and have an annual stethoscope check.
We know that one in eight people over the age of 75 suffers from moderate to severe heart valve disease. Sadly, up to half of symptomatic patients with severe aortic stenosis – where the aortic valve is not working properly – die within two years of developing symptoms, if not treated.
So, it is clear that early detection and timely treatment is vital for a longer, and better quality of, life. Remember, always, listen to your heart.
If readers are interested in finding out more about heart valve disease, we invite them to join our upcoming webinar – they can register at www.croi.ie/valvewebinar.
Croí, the Heart & Stroke Charity
For the past two years Irish hares have succumbed to the deadly RHD2 virus and a number of coursing events were cancelled as a result because the disease can be spread by coursing activities, especially via the use of nets to capture hares.
Now, another disease looms that could further undermine the conservation status of the Irish Hare and even lead to its complete disappearance from this island.
A new form of myxomatosis has surfaced in Britain which has “crossed over” from rabbits and poses a huge threat to the UK’s hare population.
This variation of the disease has already killed thousands of hares in Spain, Portugal and the UK. Dead Hares have been found in many parts of Britain displaying lesions consistent with those observed in myxomatosis.
Give the apparent ease with which RHD2 reached our shores, it is reasonable to expect that this latest disease will arrive in Ireland too, if it isn’t here already. Added to the already lethal RHD2, it could result in the loss of our iconic Irish Hare and that would represent an ecological catastrophe.
These developments strengthen the case for a ban on hare coursing. It now stands condemned on both conservationist and animal welfare grounds. Its continued legality is a scandal that should be a source of embarrassment to any government, let alone one that prides itself on its eco-awareness and commitment to “green solutions.”
The license authorizing the capture of hares for the next coursing season should be suspended and all hares in captivity released back into the wild.
The future of the Irish Hare, a sub-species of the Mountain Hare that is unique to Ireland, must take precedence over the interests of a few “sportspeople” whose sole concern and objective is to set up these animals as live bait for dogs.
Campaign for the Abolition
Of Cruel Sports
With our hospitals starting to fill up again there’s a leading question to be asked, who is causing the latest resurgence of COVID?
Recent figures from the HSE showed that 20% of people who have tested positive for COVID in the last few weeks are fully vaccinated.
This means that 80% of cases are in those who are not yet vaccinated against the disease.
High levels of infections in unvaccinated people increase the risk to everyone but calling unvaccinated people ‘stupid’, ‘selfish’ or ‘idiotic’ is not helpful.
Shaming the unvaccinated could be counterproductive and make them even more reluctant to get vaccinated.
Insults and aggression are a terrible way to convince people to get vaccinated.
Vaccines are working to prevent hospitalisations and the threat of dying from COVID is way higher than dying from a vaccine.
We now live in a world where access to information is increasingly easy, which means it is unacceptable that many members of our communities, seemingly influenced by a small group of irresponsible people, have decided to endanger not only their own lives, but also the possibility of eradicating the pandemic.