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Friday, September 23, 2011

A decent proposal

Picture: Eamon Ward


Why Marianne O’Neill and other women popped the question to their men: 8, 9


Charity group brings real change for CF patients: 4, 5


Help for the high number of Irish people bullied: 11


Plan to ban butter TV adverts while children viewing: 12



2 News front Kate O’Reilly WHAT’S ON ■ SPRING CLEAN: Two of Rory Gallagher’s jackets and Clodagh McKenna’s red apron are among the items which will be on offer tomorrow at Spring Clean for Charity in Cork City Hall. Many well-known personalities have contributed to the sale which will include bric-a-brac, trinkets and fashion items and anyone who would like to declutter in aid of the St Vincent de Paul and Cork Cheshire Homes, can book a stall on, or by calling Dearbhla on 086-8221751. Or just go along tomorrow for a fun day of bargain hunting and celebrity spotting between 11am and 5pm. Entry is €5 and children under 12 are free. ■ CULTURE NIGHT: Tonight is Culture Night (Friday, September 23 2011), an annual event that sees museums, galleries and other venues open their doors late and invite the public in for a night of free cultural celebration. For more information you can call BCO on 021-4357917. The complete Culture Night 2011 programme is available online at ■ AMD TESTING: Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is thought to affect one-in-10 Irish people over the age of 50. This is AMD Awareness Week and free testing and information will be available at Cork City Library, Grand Parade tomorrow from 2pm to 5pm. for further details. ■ COMMUNICATION COURSE: Effective Communication for Better Relationships is an eight-week (20 hour) course in Cork, open to men and women, run by SHEP (The Social & Health Education Project). It will be held in SHEP, Ballincollig on Wednesday mornings, starting on September 28. If you sometimes find it hard to say ‘no’ or would like to find ways of talking to those close to you about things that really matter, this course could be for you. The cost is €50 (or €25 unwaged). For further information phone 021-4666180. ■ GRAND CANYON: Barnardos is calling on people from all over Ireland to put on their hiking boots and join them on the Grand Canyon Challenge 2012, a seven day adventure into the heart of the ancestral lands of the Native Americans. Those interested in this opportunity to explore an amazing landscape and raise vital funds to support Barnardos’ work with vulnerable children in Ireland, can contact Liz Murray on 01-7080480 or email ■ 50 WISHES: It’s 50 years since Peter and Mark Keaveney opened their first salon on Dublin’s Grafton Street and to celebrate, Peter Mark has joined forces with the Make-A-Wish Foundation for Support 50 Wishes, two weeks of fundraising activities in salons throughout the country until October 2. Valentino in Merchant’s Quay, Cork will be having fancy dress and cake sales today and tomorrow and again next weekend. In Douglas Court, staff will also be in fancy dress with a raffle which includes singed Munster merchandise from Ronan O’Gara and there will be blow-dry Sundays on September 25 in Limerick and Killarney. There’s also a €10 gift card for customers in any Peter Mark salon during this time. Visit for full details of events. ● Items for inclusion in this column can be sent to




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Using tampons can lead to toxic shock syndrome, but there are other causes, which also affect men, Arlene Harris reports

Watch for signs T

HE onset of menstruation can be a difficult time for girls — monthly cramps, mood swings and inconvenience. But apart from being a bit of a nuisance, there is also a more serious worry associated with the monthly period. Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a very rare condition which mainly affects young menstruating females and is often the result of a tampon being left in place for too long. Earlier this week, Paige Roffey — a 15-year-old English schoolgirl — revealed how she went into a coma and almost died after collapsing with TSS. She had been feeling unwell and visited her doctor who diagnosed a virus and sent her home. Later that evening she collapsed and was rushed to hospital where it was discovered she was suffering from TSS after using a tampon for just four hours. Luckily the girl survived and was discharged after 10 days but the incident serves to remind others of the need to change tampons regularly. Dr John Ball of the Irish College of General Practitioners says being aware of how long a tampon is inserted is vital in the prevention of TSS. “Toxic shock syndrome is usually caused by a Staphylococcus organism and is secondary to an apparently trivial infection. It results in rapid shock and extreme illness,” he explains. “Tampons are the most quoted source. If forgotten about they can harbour infection and cause high fever, diarrhoea and vomiting.”

BE CAREFUL: TSS in tampon-using females can cause a massive drop in blood pressure resulting in dizziness and confusion. Picture: iStock

Dr Bernadette Carr, medical director of VHI, says men, women and children can get TSS through skin infections so it is also important to keep wounds clean and hygienic. “Anyone can get TSS and although the earliest cases involved women using tampons during menstruation less than half of current

cases are associated with such events,” she explains. “TSS can also occur as a result of an infected wound, insect bite, a boil, burns or scald — in fact any condition involved in injuring the skin which allows the bacteria to enter the body and release toxins.” “These toxins cause a massive drop in blood pressure resulting in dizziness and confusion. They also damage tissue, including skin and organs. And symptoms include sudden high fever, a faint feeling, diarrhoea, nausea, headache, rash and muscle aches. Those affected may also be affected by seizures, redness of eyes, mouth or throat and in severe cases organ failure.” “But it is a very rare condition and the numbers presenting in Ireland would probably be in single digits.” she adds Prevention: “The bacteria that cause TSS can be carried on unwashed hands and prompt an infection anywhere on the body. “TSS risk can be reduced by avoiding tampons (particularly highly-absorbent ones) or alternating them with sanitary towels or pads. Between menstrual periods ensure that tampons are stored away from areas of heat and moisture (where bacteria can grow). “Clean and bandage all skin wounds as quickly and thoroughly as possible. See a doctor immediately whenever a wound becomes red, swollen, and tender, or if a fever begins,” Dr Bernadette Carr said. ● For more information visit and

HEALTH NOTES SMART IDEA: More than nine hours sleep and a nightly routine favour academic performance in young children, a Spanish survey has found.

BAD breath and erectile dysfunction (ED) are the biggest physical sexual turn-offs for women, according to a pan-European survey that examined the sex lives of 2,500 European women who were in a committed sexual relationship with a man. Two out of three women aged over 45 confided they want to have sex at least once weekly, yet only half the women in this age group are actually doing so. The study busted the myth that women want sex less as they age — three out of four over 45s said a satisfactory sex life is important to them. The survey (conducted in Austria, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Sweden) found a majority of women would initiate a private conversation about ED with their partner — one in four felt talking about it would bring the couple closer. YOUNG children who get less than nine hours sleep a night have poorer communication, memory and motivation according to a new study conducted by Spanish researchers. The study, which looked at about 150 six and seven-year-olds from different schools, found that many of the children were either arriving home late at least three nights a week or were going to bed after 11pm at least four nights a week. The Barcelona-based researchers concluded that “more than nine hours sleep and a nightly routine favour academic performance”.

TEENS who drink lots of milk and who

Picture: iStock

continue to do so as adults may cut significantly their chances of developing Type 2 diabetes, a US study suggests. A Harvard University team discovered that adolescents who consumed four servings of milk or milk products daily and who kept up the habit into adulthood had an almost 50% lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes compared to those who consumed one or less servings of milk products a day. The study found the milk drinkers put on almost four pounds less in weight over time than those who didn’t take milk — gaining weight can increase the likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes.


PREGNANT women who eat low-fat yoghurt may be putting their children at increased risk of developing asthma and hay fever. This is according to a study of the diets of more than 70,000 Danish women, which found that the women who ate low-fat yoghurt once a day were 1.6 times more likely to have children who developed asthma by age seven. On the other hand, milk intake while expecting a baby was not linked to any raised risk of asthma. Researchers suggest the absence of fatty acids in low-fat yoghurt may explain the findings but they acknowledge that further studies are necessary.

Editorial: 021 4802 292

Advertising: 021 4802 215



In Profile

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Ursula Jacob

She’s match fit


RSULA Jacob, the top scorer on the Wexford team that won the All-Ireland senior camogie final last Sunday week and the girl who scored that crucial goal towards the end of the match, has a strong Gaelic games lineage. Her dad, Mick, played hurling with Wexford for years and was the county’s first all-star. Her mum, Breda, played county camogie, her two brothers, Michael and Rory, are on the Wexford senior hurling team, while her sister, Helen, was sub-goalie on this year’s senior camogie team and in goal for the intermediate team that won the All-Ireland. From Oulart, Ursula was 26 just days before the final and says she was “completely, absolutely delighted” when she scored the goal that spurred her county to triumph over Galway for the second year in a row. “We were three points down at that stage. There wasn’t long left in the game so it was vital to get it. I was just lucky to get it into the net.” Ursula, who captains the Wexford team, works in ac-

counts in Waterford Institute of Technology but she studied recreation and sport at college and has a masters in sports psychology. “I hope to get into the sports psychology area of work,” says Ursula, who’s “single and looking.” What shape are you in? Pretty good. I don’t get much of a break from training during the year, except for three or four weeks around December. I like to relax then but I still go for walks or to aerobic classes in the gym. Do you have any health concerns? No, I’m fully fine with everything. I was in hospital nearly 10 years ago with a broken arm. I’d broken it in two places doing athletics in secondary school. What are your healthiest eating habits? In the weeks coming up to a big match, I’d have a big breakfast — whole-wheat bread, scrambled eggs and a good bit of fruit to fill me up. I love spelt crackers. I eat them as snacks with cheese. I like plain chicken sandwiches and I drink loads of water. I make sure I have something in the car to eat within half an hour of training — brown bread or a banana. What’s your guiltiest pleasure? Chocolate, now and again. Crisps and chips would be a big weakness, but I wouldn’t eat them too often. Do you sleep well? I’m usually a fairly good sleeper. I wouldn’t get worked up before a game — I wouldn’t be over-analysing it. A stress at work or somebody saying something to me at work, that might keep me up, but usually I sleep okay. How do you relax? I enjoy going to the cinema with friends. It’s a nice way of getting away from everything — you don’t even have to talk. Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? I’d probably invite Tommy Bowe and Brian O’Driscoll from rugby –— they’d be nice to look at too. Simon Cowell would be interesting — I’d like to know what he’s like as a person. I’d love to have Mary McAleese. I met her last year at the camogie all-stars. She’s a lovely, down-to-earth woman who makes you feel so important.

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When did you last cry? I definitely shed a tear after the match last Sunday week. It was when I sat down in the dressing room and realised what we’d achieved. What’s your favourite smell? I love when I come home at the weekend and my mother has a nice dinner on the table. She makes a nice shepherd’s pie and a good chicken stew. What would you change about your appearance? I’d probably make my legs a bit longer and I’d like to have nicer nails. What trait do you least like in others? I don’t like people who are two-faced, who are nice to your face but give out about you behind your back. What trait do you least like in yourself? I get tired easily and I can be moody then and take it out on my sister. I’d like to be a bit more patient. Do you pray? My parents always encouraged us to go to mass regularly. I try to go as often as I can. I have a strong faith and I say my prayers every night.

ACHIEVING HER GOALS: Wexford camogie player Ursula scored the winning goal in last week’s All-Ireland.

Picture: Patrick Browne



What would cheer up your day? Talking to a friend or getting a nice text message. Helen O’Callaghan


Target more females in Munster and Cork than any other daily newspaper. To reach them, advertise in ‘Feelgood’.

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A charity group has been crucial to the development of a Cystic Fibrosis unit at CUH

Staying positive

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where sufferers now have state-of-the art facilities. Joe McNamee reports


Building for a future with CF I

T was sheer coincidence that one of Alan Kelly’s routine checkups took place on the very day the unit opened. But there was nothing accidental about the emotions he and wife Caroline felt sitting in the new Cystic Fibrosis (CF) adult treatment centre in Cork University Hospital. A long time promised, the centre had finally arrived and, thanks to CF charity Build4Life, it combined technologies that eclipse almost any other CF facility in the world today. Alan and Caroline couldn’t help thinking of those who might have benefited during the years of waiting. Most of all, they couldn’t help thinking of Alan’s twin brother, Barry. Consultant Dr Barry Plant, head of the adult CF programme at CUH, worked on one of the top two CF programmes in the US, in Seattle, but following the 2005 Pollock report — critical of Irish CF healthcare facilities — the Corkman returned home charged up with developing an adult CF programme at CUH. “I initially outlined what we needed from a clinical service,” says Dr Plant, “but the key point was the evolution of Build4Life over the same timeframe. Build4Life have been crucial to the development of CF services here, a model of how philanthropic organisations can work with government agencies, particularly under huge financial restrictions. We discussed essential services versus the bluesky vision — Build4Life ensured we got the bluesky vision.” Cross-infection is one of the biggest dangers for the CF patient, particularly from other CF patients. They have gone from a single-room facility to: ■ a daycentre with five isolation rooms. ■ a CF-designated gym. ■ a multi-disciplinary teamroom. ■ a multi-disciplinary staff office. ■ a counselling room “It is a fundamental change. Patients can be treated simultaneously, isolated from each other, which is significantly safer, a much more efficient healthcare experience, allowing them to get on with living with CF as opposed to CF dominating their day,” says Dr Plant. The prize feature is an air purification system, which changes air in the treatment rooms 12 times an hour, cleaning it with bactericidal sprays. At night, after lockdown, a UV sterilisation system is triggered. “This is the first CF centre in the world to have put all these technologies together into a unit,” he says. Alan Kelly and his twin Barry were diagnosed with CF shortly after their birth in 1975. Alan is


Ireland’s most common inherited disease

LOVE ACTUALLY: Alan and Caroline Kelly refuse to let Alan’s cystic fibrosis dominate their lives. “So, it was a case of to hell with it, there’s no guarantee that Alan’s going to go before me. We just get on with life and accept the limitations,” says Caroline. Picture: Maura Hickey

MODEL GROUP: Dr Barry Plant says Build4Life has been crucial to the development of CF services, a model of how philanthropic organisations can work with government agencies. Picture: Gerard McCarthy

slight and holds his shoulders high as do many with respiratory difficulties, but there’s a permanent twinkle in his eyes, a smile ever-ready. “For me it was a normal childhood because I knew nothing else, the daily routine was there from day one,” says Alan. “In the morning, the parents would help with physio, we’d take tablets. Clinical care, religiously, every three months, including the dietician. I have to take enzymes to process the fat, otherwise it would go straight through me. I could work six months to put on three or four pounds but lose 10 pounds after an infection. We were carbon copies: if I got flu, he’d get flu, we


were cross-infecting each other, but at least we got better together. In hindsight, we shouldn’t have been in that close proximity but…” “But when you’re living together?” says Caroline. “And you’re twins?” I add. Alan, nodding vigorously, wouldn’t have had it any other way: “We would have missed a share of school through infections or were kept out of school if a flu was going around, but it was a very happy childhood, a regular childhood. That was one thing about us, we didn’t rebel. We just accepted it, we knew once we got our routine over with, that was it, then we could go for a game of ball or whatever.”

Alan and his twin Barry were diagnosed with CF shortly after their birth in 1975. In his 30s, Barry’s condition deteriorated. He died in April 2009. The two of them got married in the same year, 2005

Alan and Caroline are delighted with the new unit. “It takes the pressure off,” says Caroline. “Before all the CF patients sat together in the corridor. They’d be having a chat or a laugh, but the risk of cross-infection was huge. Every time you went in, you were dodging a bullet. I’d be praying Alan would get away with it. Now you just walk into a room and everyone comes to see you. They don’t get to meet each other any more,” she chuckles, “but, obviously, that’s the way it has to be.” In his 30s, Barry’s condition gradually deteriorated. He died in April 2009. “The two of us got married in the same year, 2005,” says Alan. “Growing up, we were very tight, very


CF is Ireland’s most common, life-threatening, inherited disease. A non-contagious, genetic disorder, one-in-19 carry the gene and when two parents are carriers, their child has a one-in-four chance of being born with CF. “We [the Irish] have the highest carrier frequency in the world,” says consultant Dr Barry Plant. “As yet, there’s no definitive explanation why. Some refer to it as the Celtic Gene — in the US, Irish-Americans have a very high prevalence of CF and in Britain, a similar situation applies. Carriers of the gene have no unusual medical problems. They are perfectly well, healthy people. You need to inherit the gene from both parents.” CF triggers the secretion of an abnormal amount of mucus, particularly in the lungs and pancreas. The mucus in the lungs causes breathing difficulties and chronic lung infections. It can be akin to breathing through a straw. Meanwhile, the mucus in the pancreas blocks the enzymes which aid in the digestion of food, causing poor weight gain and failure to thrive. “The disease can affect any organ in the body,” says Plant, “however, 90% of day-to-day problems relate to worsening lung disease.”

close, but had different sets of friends as we got older, and didn’t hang around as much.” “Two totally different personalities,” adds Caroline. “Barry was quiet, serious and academic. The whole family never fully realised how highly appreciated and respected he was until the funeral and the way people were talking about him. We received letters from former students saying how he had changed their lives on a personal as well as a professional basis. One woman told me, only for Barry she would probably have been in jail. He totally turned her around, now she has a job, a family.” During Barry’s final days, Alan couldn’t vis-

it for fear of cross-infection. In the end, he tore up the rule book. “You’d always be on the phone, but for the last day or two I really went outside what I should be doing and went in there. At the end of the day, he’s my twin. “Because he died in Easter week, we couldn’t have a funeral Mass until Easter Sunday. He was laid out in my brother’s house and I could go over any time, day or night, and sit with him, reminisce, think. Those extra few days made all the difference to me.” “When I met them first,” says Caroline, “they were on a par with each other healthwise, and then to see how quickly it went wrong… we got married in ’05 and now he’s not here. You always know about CF and, potentially… but to see it actually happen is an eyeopener.” “CF is a devastating disease and we can’t ignore that,” says Dr Plant. “Tragically, children and young adults do die from CF in this country. We experience this on an ongoing basis. However, we have increasing numbers doing better; in full attendance at school, at third-level, at work, living with the disease. Alan is a case in point. The international data suggests survival has improved by 30 years because of better resources and better treatments resulting from huge research. We should be world leaders in the treatment because we have the greatest incidence of CF — that is the challenge for Irish healthcare, going forward. The sustained support for the CF charities is making a difference and our unit is a case in point.” Caroline shares Alan’s philosophy of refusing to allow CF dominate their lives. “When I first started going out with Alan, my friends said I was off my head. I suppose, statistically, the chances of us growing old together… it may happen, it may not. “Trying to have kids is a huge difficulty for someone with CF and we had to look at that as well before we got really serious. We decided each other is what we wanted. Caroline continues: “The one thing that struck me about Barry and Alan when I first met them was their positivity. A man I worked with, in the prime of life, with three young children, died, aged 41, of a brain tumour. So, it was a case of to hell with it, there’s no guarantee that Alan’s going to go before me, we just get on with life and accept the limitations.” As Alan says, life is there to be lived. “It’s just something I’m born with, a lot of people have a lot of worse illnesses and disabilities to deal with on a daily basis. I can get up in the morning, go out, go to work, play my pitch and putt — a lot of people would LOVE to be in my position, so you have to be very grateful for the good things. I prefer to make a positive out of the negatives.” If you are participating in the upcoming Cork Mini Marathon on Sunday, September 25, please consider running in aid of Build4Life4Kids. For further information please contact Joe Browne on 086-2317722.


Every cent raised is well spent DRIVEN by Castleisland-native Joe Browne, Build4Life is a CF charity founded by friends and family of Cork and Kerry CF patients. Browne’s son Pádraig was diagnosed with CF in 2002. “I was very angry, the lack of control over the circumstances bore down on me,” says Browne. In 2006, he visitDRIVING FORCE: Joe ed a friend, a CF patient, who sub- Browne, one of the sequently died. It main forces behind CF charity Build4Life was the spur for Build4Life. wanted a better “I wanted there future for his son to be far, far betPadraig who was ter facilities for diagnosed with CF in Padraig in the fu- 2002. ture, should he come to need them. I couldn’t cure CF but I could do something to help.” Every single penny raised by Build4Life goes towards building facilities — there are no administration costs, no staff. They raised €2.2m in four years for the CUH adult CF unit.

CONCRETE RESULTS: The people behind Build4Life pump all the money raised, back into their projects, such as the gym, part of the new Cork-based CF unit being used here by CF sufferer, Alan Kelly seen with his wife Caroline. Picture: Denis Scannell





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Irish society has moved from sexual repression to promiscuity without eradicating fear and shame

Not much joy H


Feel Good Personals FOR COST EFFECTIVE ADVERTISING Phone: LORI FRASER Tel. 021-4802265 Fax 021-4273846


Bert Hellinger

A Path to Healing

Date: Saturday & Sunday 15th and 16th October, 2011 Venue: St. Dominics, Ennismore, Cork Enquiries: Riona Dunlea, (MIACP)



Tony Humphreys

AVE we at all emerged from under the dark cloud of Catholicism, its suppression and demonising of sexuality, and the collusion of its leaders with the sexual violation of children? Have we come to a mature place of reclaiming and enjoying one’s own body, deciding on what is right or wrong for oneself, appreciation of all parts of one’s body, and comfortableness with self-pleasuring and with honouring those parts of one’s body that have such an amazing capacity for pleasure and procreation? Some shift has occurred, but it has not been a mature one; we have gone from sexuality as taboo to sexuality as licence. There has developed a huge emphasis on sex in Irish society, but, ironically, there is very little openness or realness for men and women around sexual expression. Regrettably, parents and teachers still struggle with embarrassment when discussing sexuality with young people and the vast majority of parents do not talk with children and teenagers about sexuality. For those of us reared as Catholics up until the 1980s, sexuality was rife with prescriptions, proscriptions, strict rules and norms about how to behave. Threats arose from proscriptions: “you mustn’t do that because it’s sinful”; “nice girls don’t do that or think like that”; “sex is something you don’t talk about”; “you don’t have sex with a nice girl”; “don’t bring shame to the family.” During that dark era, ignorance was rampant and lack of communication pervasive. Research shows that not much has changed for young people, with the major difference being that the threats are more likely to arise from prescriptions about how they must be — for example, “you’re odd, not cool if you don’t engage in casual sexual encounters with people you hardly even know.” Furthermore, there are definite conditions around “entitlement” to sexual expression — for example, there is a strong message that it is only for the young, only for the physically alluring, as this is defined by leaders in the media — that it is only for the fit and healthy. There are also strict rules about what constitutes sexual attractiveness, especially for women, but increasingly so for men; rules that research shows even young children are exposed to and take on board. Sadly, if sexuality was harshly suppressed in the past, in the present it has become commercialised to a degree never before seen. If, previously, sexuality was not to be enjoyed, now it is a means to an end rather than a joy in itself. The mature holding of sexuality that is needed in homes, schools and churches was not, and is still not, present and there continues to be a dire need for sex education for parents, teachers and clergy so that they can provide wise guidance for young people. Sexuality is but one of the expressions of our human nature; equally important are physical, emotional, intellectual, behavioural, social, creative and spiritual expressions. Sexuality is most powerfully held when it is responded to in the context of all of the expressions. Adults and young people are better-enabled to make safe, responsible, respect-


Picture: iStock

It would appear in Ireland we have gone from sexuality as taboo to sexuality as licence ful, open and mature sexual choices for themselves when they have the physical safety to accept and look after their bodies, the emotional safety to identify and follow their own feelings, the intellectual safety to make up their own mind about what is right for them, the social safety to not conform and to stay true to themselves, the behavioural safety to take ownership and responsibility for their own actions and consequences of same, the creative safety to express their own uniqueness and individuality and the spiritual safety to glimpse their deeper nature, a silent presence that has no shape, location or form. All of the foregoing is aspirational and can only become a reality when we come into consciousness of so many of our experiences of, reactions to, and defences to, sexuality, that are below the surface of our conscious awareness. We bury these responses, because in our early lives there was no emotional or social safety to deal straightforwardly with what arose in us. In early life, we had to fit around our parents, teachers, priests and other significant adults because we were completely dependent on them for our sense of belonging and love — we had to conform and we found ourselves unconsciously living someone else’s life. It is quite a challenge to allow what is hidden about our sexual expression to come to the surface; but unless we can consciously sit with what we currently feel, think and how we react to sexual expression, no progress can be made towards dancing to our own music rather than dancing to someone else’s tune. I will write more on this important matter next week. Dr Tony Humphreys is a consultant clinical psychologist, Author and national and international speaker. A course on Authentic Sexual Self-Expression has been devised by Dr Helen Ruddle, counselling psychologist and author and trained facilitators are available to run this course in the community. Details available from Margaret 021-4642394.


Target more females in Munster and Cork than any other daily newspaper. To reach them, advertise in ‘Feelgood’.

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Cover story

The woman proposing marriage remains taboo in Ireland, partly because we dream from childhood of our fiance asking on bended knee, but there are trailblazing exceptions, says Sue Leonard

Against the norm

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ALL IN THE FAMILY: The death of Eileen Gormley’s sister prompted her to formalise her relationship with her then boyfriend Tony Byrne. Picture: Maxwells Dublin


OU’RE independent. You own a house, a car, and have equality at work. But would you propose to your man? In England, a survey showed one in ten women would and do; but in Ireland, it’s the last taboo. “It’s rare to find a woman who proposed to her fiancé,” says Caroline Hendry, of “Women dream of the proposal; of their boyfriend getting down on bended knee. They don’t want to miss out by proposing themselves.” Asking around, I got a resounding ‘no’ from gutsy women, some of whom run their own businesses. There were exceptions. Journalist Alex Gray considered proposing but her sister dissuaded her. “She said, ‘you’d always wonder how he’d have done it’,” says Alex. “She was right. When Dan proposed it really was special.” If women propose, it’s likely to be unplanned. They’ll pop the question on the spur of the moment. But Colette O’Leary, of Elegant Events, was given a huge budget by a 29-year-old woman. “She’d been with her boyfriend for eight years. He was happy with the way things were. But she wanted a family, and she decided to propose and to set things up in such a way that it would be impossible for him to say ‘no.’ I went in and decorated the room. There were feather boas, and all kinds of stuff. I organised the caterers, and the chilled wine and champagne. She waited until he came home from work, and presented him with a Patex Philippe watch. She’d earmarked a ring in Tiffany’s for herself, and she had a photo of it. He went for it and they’re now married,” she says. But beware. Another woman popped the question. He accepted. They organised the big white wedding. But three days before, he upped and left her. Marianne Maurer, 31, met Brian O’Neill in 2000. “I was 21, and he was 28. We clicked immediately. We moved in together at once, and from time to time we’d talk about marriage. He always said, ‘I might ask you, but not until we’ve been together for ten years.’ Seven years on, we were on holidays in San Sebastian in Spain. I spotted a really nice watch there. We came home, and I thought about proposing. I mentioned it to my sister, and she was cool with the idea. I planned it all. And I didn’t tell anyone else,” she says. “We’d bought a ruined cottage in Clare. One day in May, 2007, I dragged him up there. My sister had set up a table with a teddy bear and champagne. I brought him round the side of the house and he said, ‘what’s going on here?’ I was shaking with nerves. There were tears in my eyes. I said, ‘will you marry me?’ And I handed him the Tag Hueur watch. He said ‘yes’ at once. There were tears in his eyes. He had a really great reaction. “I didn’t want the big Irish wedding, so

I was shaking with nerves. There were tears in my eyes. I said, ‘will you marry me?’ And I handed him the watch. He said ‘yes’ at once. There were tears in his eyes. He had a really great reaction

WATER WAY: Sarah Webb proposed to Brian Cooke while swimming. HAPPY OUTCOME: Brian and Marianne O’Neill are expecting a child. Marianne was teary-eyed with nervousness when she proposed to Brian.

Picture: Eamon Ward

we married in Italy. I wore a simple, Grecian-style wedding dress and I had four bridesmaids. They included my sister and my stepdaughter, who is now 17.” Living in Ennis, the couple run the Rowan Tree cafe bar and hostel. Marianne is pregnant with her first child. Has she ever had regrets that it was her who proposed? “Never. It’s been a great outcome. I’ve asked Brian if he could have got round to proposing, and he says he probably would have, eventually. But I got the idea, and thought, ‘feck it’,” she says. Writer Sarah Webb met Ben Cooke 12 years ago. She was a single mum to Sam, then eight. They met twice with friends. Ben took her number and rang the next day. “He asked me out for dinner like nice men do, and I quickly realised he was really special,” she says. They moved in to-

gether and have since had two children; Amy, 8 and Jago five. But marriage was never part of the plan. “We never discussed it. I had Sam as a single mother, so when the others came along it wasn’t an issue. My parents never asked about it. They were just happy to have more grandchildren.” Two years ago, at 39, Sarah changed her mind. “We were in west Cork on holidays. Some friends were looking after the kids, so we decided to go swimming. We were bobbing around in the water, and it was lovely. It’s one of my favourite places in the world. “I just said, ‘will you marry me.’ There was no logic. It was a spur of the moment thing. Ben said, ‘are you serious?’ and I said, ‘yeah.’ He said, ‘definitely. Yes.’ We planned a tiny wedding, but things started


escalating. It became so far away from our original plan, and it was becoming stressful, so we postponed it. “We didn’t mean to leave it two years, but life has been busy. I had four books out last year, and two this year. In my latest teen book, Love and other Dramaramas, Amy Green’s mum and stepfather are delaying their wedding. So my preoccupation has spilled over. We will marry. It’s just a question of when,” she says. Eileen Gormley had been living with Tony Byrne for years. A feminist, who didn’t want children, she wasn’t interested in marriage. But then her sister died suddenly at 21. “It was a total shock. She had a boyfriend who she was in love with. They were inseparable and we knew him well. But when Suzanne died, we didn’t see him

Picture: Nick Bradshaw


again. The bond just wasn’t there anymore,” she says. “Tony and I were in Bewley’s one morning. We were talking about Suzanne, and I realised that, if I died, I didn’t want Tony to just drop out of contact. I realised that marriage makes a difference. It creates families of people who are not related by blood. We were drinking coffee and reading the Sunday Times; swapping sections. And I said, ‘Well, why don’t we get married?’ He said ‘OK.’ And that was it. He didn’t get a ring. I don’t like the symbolism of it; that if a man backs out she has the ring to console her. “We got married in 1993, when I was 31. The wedding was in Switzerland, because we wanted to keep it low key. The people who came all liked us and enjoyed being there. I wore a black dress, and we found an English-speaking priest. He was at the stag night, the wedding and the honeymoon. We all had a great holiday.” The couple hadn’t planned children, but they’re now the doting parents to Brianna 14, Isolde 13, and Eris, who’s 10. Eileen is writing young adult science fiction and life for the couple is good. But does she regret being the one to propose? “No. The second I did it, marriage seemed a good idea. And Tony was happy with it too,” she says. When Hazel Larkin met Vikram, at a wedding in Mumbai, India, she was rather off men. A single mum, she’d been divorced, twice, before she was 30. Her first, Singaporean, husband had proposed within five days of meeting her; the second, an Indian, within five hours. And both marriages had been a disaster. Her next boyfriend, father to her younger daughter Kashmira, had declared his love, but then, suddenly, remembered he was married. “I met Vikram when I was 34, in 2005. I was living in Ireland then, and was in India for the summer,” she says. “Vikram was striking-looking. That was the first thing I noticed. And he was gentle. I felt safe with him. And he was immediately good with my children. “On the third day of the wedding, he had to leave. I thought, ‘if he walks away, I’ll never see him again. So I took his face in my hands and I kissed him. He was shocked in a good way. He took my number, and rang the following day. “We met in June, and met every weekend; we were living in different cities. We spoke every day. At the end of July, I said, ‘why don’t we get married and have kids.’ He paused and said, ‘I can’t think of one good reason.’ I said, ‘why don’t we?’ and he said, ‘I don’t know.’ He didn’t actually say ‘no,’ but he meant no. I couldn’t move to India, and he would never live anywhere else. We’re still in touch and I still love him. But he’s from a traditional Indian family and is expected to marry someone from his own background. That’s just the way it is.”



Medical matters

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Q. My elderly mother has been put on steroid medication for a condition called “vasculitis” . Will she have this for the rest of her life and does she have to take steroids for the long-term. I am concerned about the long-term side effects.

I HAVE been told vitamin E is safe to take as a supplement. Is this true, is it necessary to take it and does it have any side effects?

Dr Niamh Houston



Dr Niamh Houston is a GP with a special interest in integrative medicine. If you have a question about your child’s health email it to or send a letter to Feelgood Irish Examiner City Quarter Lapps Quay Cork

A. Naturally occurring vitamin E exA. The main goal of treating vasculitis ists in 8 chemical forms that have is to reduce inflammation in the affectvarying levels of biological activity. ed blood vessels. Vasculitis occurs if Alpha-tocopherol is the only form your immune system attacks your blood that is recognised to meet our requirevessels by mistake. A Recent infection ments. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamay prompt the attack or it can come min with antioxidant properties. Supabout due to a reaction to a medicine. plements are available in natural or Sometimes an autoimmune disease like synthetic forms — the natural forms rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma are usually labelled with the letter can trigger vasculitis. It is also linked to “d”, whereas the synthetic forms are certain blood cancers eg leukaemia or labelled “dl”. lymphoma. Smokers and people with Antioxidants protect cells from the chronic hepatitis B or C are at risk of damaging effects of free radicals, developing vasculitis. which are the molecules that contain Treatment will depend on the type of an unshared electron. Free radicals vasculitis a person has, the organs affectdamage cells and may contribute to ed and the severity of the condition. It the development of cardiovascular discan affect the skin, joints, lungs, gasease and cancer. Unshared electrons trointestinal tract, eyes, brain or nerves. are highly energetic and react rapidly Corticosteroids help reduce inflamwith oxygen to form reactive oxygen mation in your blood vessels and are species (ROS). The body forms ROS commonly used to treat vasculitis. endogenously when it converts food Treatment can help prevent or delay to energy, and antioxidants can protect complications of vasculitis such as organ cells from the damaging effects of damage. For some people, if this condiROS. The body is also exposed to tion is mild, over-the-counter analgesics free radicals from environmental exsuch as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen posures such as cigarette smoke, air may be all that is needed to provide repollution, and UV radiation. Vitamin VITAL VEG: A healthy diet full of green leafy lief. For most patients making the diagE has antioxidant properties that can vegetables, whole grains and fortified cereals should nosis of vasculitis can be difficult and stop the production of ROS . Many time consuming. Numerous investigaclaims have been made about vitamin provide the right amount of vitamin E. Picture: iStock tions may be endured before pieces of E’s potential to promote health and the puzzle are assembled. Blood tests, X-rays prevent and treat disease. However to date, can suggest the diagnosis of vasculitis, but bleeding. Some people take vitamin E supapart from the treatment of vitamin E defioften the only way to confirm is by biopsy. plements with other antioxidants such as viciency (which is rare), there are no clearly The outcome of vasculitis is hard to pretamin C, selenium and beta-carotene. This proven uses of vitamin E supplementation. dict. Rarely, it doesn’t respond well to treatcollection of antioxidant ingredients can afPremature babies of very low birth weight ment. For some people vasculitis is chronic (<1,500grams) might be deficient in vitamin fect the levels of HDL (good cholesterol) (ongoing) and never goes into remission. among people treated with combination of E . Also people with fat-malabsorption disLong term treatment often can control orders like Crohns disease, cystic fibrosis are simvastatin and niacin. Oncology specialists chronic vasculitis, however no cure has been more likely to become deficient in this vita- usually advise against the use of antioxidant supplements during cancer chemotherapy or found. Long-term use of corticosteroids min. Deficiency symptoms include periphmay lead to weight gain, diabetes, weakness, radiotherapy as they might reduce the effeceral neuropathy, ataxia, skeletal myopathy, tiveness of these therapies, but more research a decrease in muscle size, and osteoporosis as retinopathy and impairment of the immune well as increased risk of infection. is needed in this area. A well-balanced diet system. Vitamin E supplements can interact Your mother’s doctor may adjust the type should provide the required amount of vitawith prescribed medications such as anticoor dose of steroids she takes to lessen or premin E. It is found in green leafy vegetables, agulant and antiplatelet medication whole grains and fortified cereals. Nuts are a vent side effects. While she is being treated (blood-thinning medication eg warfarin asfor vasculitis, she will need to see her doctor pirin heparin)., and in patients with vitamin good source of vitamin E, as are lean meats, regularly. poultry K deficiency. This can increase the risk of

NOTE: The information contained in Dr Houston’s column is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult a doctor first


Catherine Shanahan MUM’S WORLD Feelgood

’M a sucker for gratuities when it comes to acts of absolute human foolishness. The fire-eater who lost an eyebrow to a fireball or the one-armed juggler of chainsaws is guaranteed a couple of euro if I pass his upturned hat. Yes, be it plate-spinning, stilt-walking, sword-swallowing, snake-charming, card tricks, high-wire midgets, unicyclists, madcap scientists, contortionists, gravity-defying acrobats or living statues — I’m all for street performance as an art form, and the more oddball the better. There are certain pieces of theatre best kept off our streets, no matter how spectacular the performance. A breakdown in relations between mother and daughter is one of them. We were walking down Grand Parade in Cork city when, without warning, my three-year-old jumped from her buggy. Caught unawares, I clipped the back of her heels and she fell over. I ran to her aid, but she was having none of it. Instead, through hysterical screams, tears coursing down her cheeks, she accused me of throwing her from her buggy. “MY MAMMY HURT ME!” she sobbed, as heads turned in my direction. In vain, I tried to placate her. “GET AWAY FROM ME, MAMMY, YOU HURT ME!” she yelled, as passersby slowed their progress to digest the unfolding drama

that suggested the child’s mother had somehow harmed her. I wished for the ground to open and swallow me. “I’M GOING TO TELL MY DADDY YOU THREW ME OUT OF THE BUGGY!” she yelled, quite beside herself with rage. One woman paused to ask if we needed help. I blushed to the nape of my neck. I tried to say it was an accident, but the words were drowned out by shouts of “SHE THREW ME OUT! SHE THREW ME OUT!” Amid scenes that threatened to get out of hand, I decided to make a run for it. Catching up the screaming child, I plonked her back in the buggy, (this time straps fastened), nodded to our audience, and headed for the English Market, where theatrics and spectacle are commonplace. After receiving a queen, a three-year-old making a scene is hardly a showstopper. One gourmet hotdog and one berry-boost fruit juice later, the mood had improved considerably. On foot of that performance, I am considering acquiring a few props to upstage my offspring. I am thinking a one-woman show with acoustic guitar, toe-tapping tambourine and a harmonica on a rack attached to my neck. That would surely drown them out. Or, I could just let them perform and pass the hat around, and cash in on their talent for dramatics and pass it off as stagecraft.


Catching up the screaming child, I headed for the English Market where theatrics and spectacle are commonplace. After receiving a queen, a three-year-old making a scene is hardly a showstopper



Coping with life

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Conference to highlight prevalence of harassment, reports Colette Sheridan

Confronting bullies U

NABLE to sleep, anxious and living with a constant pain in his stomach, Rev Dr Tony Byrne, pictured, director of Awareness Education Services in Dublin, didn’t know what was wrong with him. He experienced these symptoms 16 years ago when he was presenting a course on suicide. “There was a lady volunteer on the course who was a powerful kind of person. I used to wake up with an image of this woman in my mind’s eye,” says Dr Byrne. “She was constantly ridiculing me on the course and criticising me unjustly. My whole self-confidence had gone out the window. I had never come across something like this before. Eventually, one of our lecturers, a clinical psychologist, noticed what was going on and told me that I was being bullied by this woman.” Dr Byrne’s symptoms were typical of a bullying victim. Depression can set in followed by absenteeism from work. Today, Dr Byrne is an expert on bullying. The co-author of Bullying in the Workplace, Home and School (Blackhall Publishing), he is one of the speakers in a conference on bullying in Dublin on September 27, organised by Awareness Education Services in association with the charity, Truck Convoy. The Samaritans say one in four workers is bullied. “From our clinical experience, one in three homes is experiencing bullying and 14% to 20% of all suicides are associated with bullying,” says Dr Byrne. A bully persistently acts aggressively, using psychological, verbal and physical tactics. This person has never learnt to accept responsibility for their behaviour, says the UK National Workplace Bullying Advice line. He/she abdicates and denies responsibility for his/her behaviour and its consequences. Despite the facade such people present, bullies have low self-confidence and feel insecure.

They are driven by jealousy and often have wide-ranging prejudices as a vehicle for dumping their anger onto others. There are three formal ways of confronting a bully. 1. The victim can keep a detailed diary, noting incidents of bullying, the time and location of the behaviour, the witnesses and the effect on the person. 2. Hire a professional mediator with the agreement of management and the alleged bully and alleged victim. Interviewed individually and then together, the parties will try and find an acceptable solution. 3. The legal route. Patricia Murray, organisational psychologist with the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), says employers have a duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees. The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act “doesn’t go into the nitty gritty of how one person treats another in the workplace. It only covers a case insofar as the employer acted reasonably which means having systems in place.” The alleged victim of bullying isn’t given a voice through the act. But there are other routes. “Research published in the Health and Safety Review last year found that of all the cases that go through the industrial relations mechanism, the employment appeals tribunal and the Labour Court, a strong percentage of them come down in favour of the complainant. That’s not necessarily because the complainants were being bullied. It was because the employer hadn’t put systems in place,” Murray says. Statistics on bullying cases are hard to source because so many different bodies are involved. Settled successful civil actions are not recorded. Murray says the HSA deals with 400 bullying queries a year, “but not everything that comes to us will necessarily end up being treated as a bullying complaint.” Conflict can be mistaken for bullying. Are men slower to make bullying complaints than women? Professor Mona O’Moore, head of the Anti-Bullying Centre at Trinity College Dublin, says: “It depends on the perpetrators. For example, a man with

What leads to this behaviour The purpose of bullying is to hide inadequacy. Bullies project their inadequacy on to others: ■ To avoid their inadequacy and doing something about it. ■ To avoid accepting responsibility for their behaviour and the effect it has on others. ■ To reduce their fear of being seen for what they are, namely a weak and often incompetent individual. ■ To divert attention away from their inadequacy in an insecure or badly-managed workplace.

Picture: iStock

a female boss may be slower to complain than a man with a male boss. Women in military and police services may find it difficult to complain because to do so could be seen as a sign of weakness. It very much depends on the context. “But when looking at legal cases, the ratio of men to women is 50:50. People might think that it’s predominantly women that take bullying cases, but that’s not so. Also, the people taking case are from all walks of life.” The conference, Confronting the Psychological Torture of Bullying in the Workplace, Home and School, takes place in the Regency Hotel in Whitehall, Dublin on September

27. It will be opened by RTÉ’s Marian Finucane and addressed by Professor Mona O’Moore, head of the Anti-Bullying Centre at Trinity College Dublin and author of Understanding School Bullying: A Guide for Parents and Teachers, John Lonergan, former governor of Mountjoy Prison, Sr Kathleen Maguire, facilitator at Awareness Education Services and Anne Dunne, senior counsel. Tel: 01-8388888. Email: ● Let’s Talk Bullying, a special guide for

parents and children, is free with the Irish Examiner on Sept 29.

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Healthy food

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Not in front of the kids Certain TV food adverts may be banned when children watching Hidden goodness Roz Crowley


OW much should we legislate for people’s habits? Should governments decide what we eat and drink, and how much we exercise? If so, how should they do it? They can tax ‘unhealthy’ choices, or censor advertising. We no longer see advertising of cigarettes, so can we apply the same to foods and who should decide what is healthy or not? We can all have our say about how we think advertising should be controlled: a new discussion document produced by the Expert Working Group (EWG) for the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) includes various experts and members of the Food Safety Authority and the Department of Health. We are asked to make our online contribution where the discussion document gives details of their recommendations. You have until 5pm today to make your feelings known. The proposal is that the advertising of foods high in saturated fats, salt or sugar, and therefore unhealthy for children — given the obesity epidemic — should be banned from television between 6pm and 9pm, the most popular viewing times for those aged between 5 and 18 years. This, of course, applies only to channels based in Ireland. The most controversial foods proposed for the advertising ban before 9pm are cheese and butter. Their high saturated fat content is thought to be best kept to adult viewing. Less controversial are convenience foods such as crisps, sugary drinks, sweets and biscuits. The latter are taxed at a rate of 21%, while butter and cheese are classed as foods and so are exempt. Taxation is more a commodity issue rather than a health one, but it can affect us. If health was the issue, given the health benefits being discovered in dark chocolate, it would not be taxed at the full rate of VAT. 100% cocoa is zero-rated, but once a grain of sugar is added it goes up to 21%, no matter how little sugar and fat are added. Distinctions are not made about quality. It will be interesting to see how large corporations will react if their products are not allowed to be aired at prime-time viewing for their target audience. In France recently, prime minister Francois Fillon proposed a tax of €4.30 per hectolitre on soft drinks. This, the government hopes, will generate much-needed revenue while slimming down the nation. Despite this measure, only adding a cent to the price of a can of Coke, Coca Cola Enterprises reacted by suspending the planned expansion of a production plant in Bouches-du-Rhone. While similar tactics worked in the US, France did not capitulate and days later Coca Cola resumed its plans to expand. Still, it empha-


SWEET BENEFITS: More news on the health benefits of chocolate has come just in time for Colm Healy, owner of the Skelligs Chocolate company, which has a new selection being exhibited next week. Picture: Don MacMonagle

SPREAD THE NEWS: Butter and cheese are being proposed on the list of foods which can’t be advertised on Irish TV channels during prime time viewing for children. Picture: iStock sised the power multinational companies can, and do, have. So should we allow our food advertising to children be policed? Nutritional consultant Mary Carmody says no: “Parents do the buying and need to keep in control of the family purchasing, keeping children out of supermarkets, if necessary, when they do the family shop. Children may absorb manipulating advertising messages, but parents don’t have to respond to them,” she says. The education of parents is the key to fighting the obesity epidemic, she says. “I have found that when children are given oatcakes, and snacks such as almonds, they respond well. They need to be offered the healthy option and people need to take responsibility for their own health.” “We’re only human,” says Dr Mary Flynn, chief specialist in public health nutrition at the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, who

was part of the consultative committee that produced the discussion document. “It would be great to see advertising showing children enjoying fish, fruit and vegetables or getting messages about eating less salt, sugar and fat, but we are battling with other advertising messages from powerful organisations with the agenda of selling their goods.” Flynn says the Expert Working Group, which included members of the Health and Safety Authority, debated at length the idea of keeping cheese off the list of foods to be taken from the pre-9pm advertising slots. “We know it contains good calcium, necessary for bone health, but other dairy produce, such as yoghurt and milk, has too. These have far less saturated fat,” she says. Flynn says people don’t realise that there is the same calorific value in a teaspoon of olive oil and polyunsaturated margarine as there is in our traditional butter. “We have to balance


EPICATECHIN is the new health buzz word. An antioxidant found in dark chocolate, scientists discovered that when mice were fed the compound they had higher, sustainable energy levels than those not fed it doing the same treadmill exercise. Couple that with more news that chocolate boosts brain and heart muscle and we have a good reason to try the new award winning Selection (named after their collection of Great Taste awards) from Skelligs chocolates. The delicious chocolate covered fruits will be showcased next week at the Shop trade exhibition in Dublin. Dark and milk chocolate encases sun-dried plums soaked in brandy, apricots soaked in amaretto and figs soaked in rum giving extra vitamin value for a fair €12.50 per 200g box, especially considering the quality. Good to see this great Irish company recovering from their devastating fire last November. Available at Avoca Handweavers, The Chocolate shop in Cork’s English Market and McCambridges in Galway.

the saturated fat with what a product can deliver in terms of benefits. A product may have a little salt or sugar, but have lots of fibre, like some cereals, so we have to consider that the benefits of fibre could outweigh the negatives of a low amount of sugar or salt. We don’t find this trade-off in butter or cheese,” she says. Flynn says research shows that advertising does work, and as we have an innate drive towards foods that melt in the mouth and are full of saturated fats, salt and sugar, so we have to work hard to avoid them. We can eat a little of most foods and stay healthy, but when we are legislating generally, the SFA says they have to either include or exclude all foods, and butter, margarine and cheese are on the negative list. This doesn’t mean the foods will be banned, just their advertising to children. To have your say, log onto the website at



Male health

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Listening to the symptoms


OR retired general surgeon Hy Browne, hearing loss was so gradual he almost didn’t notice how it was affecting his life. “For a year or two, my hearing was gradually deteriorating, and family and friends mentioned it gently to me at first,” says Mr Browne, a former Dean of the Royal College of Surgeons. “It definitely affected me socially — I could hear an individual quite well but found it difficult in a group. I found I was withdrawing from conversations. And, if I was introduced to someone, I couldn’t introduce them to the next person because I hadn’t heard their first name.” Eventually, it was a professional concern that triggered his desire to act. “I’m retired but I still lecture and examine post-graduate and under-graduate students. I was afraid I’d miss something.” Mr Browne is just one of thousands of people who delay seeking treatment for hearing impairment. According to a 2007 study, people wait up to 15 years to get their hear-

Deirdre O'Flynn MOSTLY MEN ing checked compared with three years for a sight test. More than four out of five of those who could benefit from hearing loss treatment fail to seek help. The bad news for men is that a sample of 5,742 Americans, aged 20 to 69, who participated in a large national survey — including hearing tests — from 1999 to 2004 showed that men were 5.5 times more likely to have hearing loss compared to women. For lots of men, hearing loss can be related to working in loud conditions, but Mr Browne wonders if his was related to a hobby. “I was in Kuala Lumpur for work and went to the Malaysian Grand Prix,

HIDDEN BENEFIT: Hy Browne’s hearing loss was a gradual deterioration but he received a new lease of life from being fitted with a non-visible hearing aid. Picture: Maura Hickey where F16 fighters flew overhead. The noise was so bad it damaged my left ear a bit, but it probably only accelerated the hearing loss process.” With no choice finally but to seek treatment, Mr Browne opted for a hearing aid. “There’s a stigma attached to hearing loss and hearing aids were not that attractive. I was lucky I was introduced to Hidden Hearing

Online site for Plunging property prices stroke survivors adding to strain of divorce THE Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) has launched an online forum for stroke survivors, their family and friends. Forum members can chat online and share their experiences. According to the IHF, around 10,000 people will have a stroke in Ireland this year. Over 2,000 will die and thousands more will be left disabled. At least 15% of strokes are misdiagnosed — that’s over 1,500 cases a year. A significant proportion of this death and disability is avoidable and the IHF hopes that, by creating awareness about stroke, these rates can be lowered. You’ll find the stroke forum at strokeforum/



GOOD REGIME: September is Colgate Oral Health Month in partnership with the Irish Dental Association and the theme for 2011 is: The Importance of a Good Oral Care Regime for a Healthy Mouth. Advice from Colgate includes: ■ Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Almost a quarter of us (23%) only clean our teeth once a day or less. ■ Replace your toothbrush regularly. ■ Start using mouthwash daily ■ Book an appointment with your dentist



FALLING property prices are causing additional strain on couples going through a separation or divorce, many of whom have already lost their jobs and have large mortgages outstanding. “The recession has definitely contributed to much of the difficulty that many couples who are currently in the separation or divorce process face,” says Maurice Kelly, a family mediator at As both parties disclose their personal finances during the separation or divorce proceedings, the decline in asset values often leads to additional disputes which can sour the relationship and lengthen the proceedings. Nationally, residential property prices fell

12.5% in the year to July, according to the Central Statistics Office. “These issues can often be dealt with in a more appropriate and sympathetic way through family mediation,” says Maurice. “Often people’s emotions influence their decisions which not only have an adverse effect on themselves and their partner, but also their children. The more personal approach taken during mediation helps maintain a workable relationship between parties particularly when the financial position is not as straight-forward as may have been anticipated up until just a few years ago.”

and my hearing aid is not visible at all.” The device he has, a RITE (Receiver in the Ear) is tiny, unnoticeable and aesthetically appealing. Today, his quality of life has improved. He is no longer tired from having to concentrate 110% on everything, embarrassed from constantly asking for repetition and , and can hear the TV and use his mobile phone with no issues.

DId you know...

Men who gain belly fat are at greater risk of serious health problems, even death, than people who accumulate fat in other areas Source: Mayo Clinic

Oral health


BRACES RELIEF: Aloclair is a non-stinging natural treatment for mouth ulcers, suitable for all the family. Designed to heal by creating a shield around the area of discomfort, it contains natural aloe vera extract, which is soothing and anti-microbial. Aloclair is recommended for the chafing and irritation caused by braces and is available in an 8g gel tube, which can be easily popped into a school bag: €3.99; a 15ml spray, €4.49; or a mouthwash, €5.99 for 60ml from pharmacies; or


WHITE SMILE: Colgate’s MaxWhite One toothpaste contains white accelerator micro-crystals which release whitening silica as you brush. The toothpaste is designed to remove stains and prevent tartar build-up to achieve one shade whiter teeth after just one week, €4.99 for 75ml.



NATURAL CARE: Green People’s 100% natural toothpastes, available from health stores nationwide, €4.54 for 50ml, are formulated with organic essential oils, Vitamin C, and Myrrh to give protection against bacterial growth, one of the main causes of gum disease. Aloe Vera is added for its soothing effect on sensitive gums, and is known to reduce swelling and is a powerful antiseptic in gum pockets where normal cleaning is difficult. Clinical trials have shown that Green People’s Minty Cool toothpaste is especially effective people suffering from Dry Mouth Syndrome, while Mandrain toothpaste can be used on the gums even before baby’s first tooth emerges. Suitable for use during homeopathic treatment



14 Beauty

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No need to get browned off Experiment with a new version of an old eyeshadow shade


TRUE BLUES AS if you needed any more convincing that blue is the nail shade of the season, Chanel has now come out with three super-cool blue shades that are so hot they’ll probably be sold out by the time you’re reading this. We like all three but our fave is most definitely Blue Boy, a gorgeous denim tone that feels as comfortable on your nails as your favourite pair of jeans. Gorgeous. Les Jeans De Chanel, €25, available exclusively from Brown Thomas Dublin.

Take three...

Emily O’Sullivan

’LL be the first one to admit it, over the past few years I’ve got stuck in a smokey eye rut. And in the grand scheme of things there’s nothing much wrong with that, except that it can get a little dull. Yes, the smokey eye is an undeniable classic — it looks great with a nude lip and slightly dishevelled hair. It’s classically cool — favoured by everyone down through the years from Jane Birkin to Patti Smith and Kate Moss. But sticking to the same look can get really very dull, and while I’m not Madonna-esque about my makeup (that is, keep moving on or it’s a style-related kiss of death!), it’s still good to keep things a little bit fresh. With that in mind, this week I decided to jump into one of autumn’s biggest trends: brown eyeshadow. Around the mid-90s I had an addiction to brown eyeshadow. Then I discovered the beauty of black liquid eyeliner. However brown eyeshadow is cool once more: the eyeshadow formulations are better (not so matte) and if you sidle down the scale a little you can end up with a nice browny-bronzey mix that works well, especially on green eyes. The key, of course, is to get the right shade. Go too terracotta and it all goes a bit Night of the Living Dead with a seriously unflattering “I haven’t slept for three weeks” kind of a look (there was a lot of this on the catwalk beauty looks, but this is where it should really stay). Go for a shade that’s too chocolatey and matte and it gives a flat look to the eyes that feels incredibly dated. Still, if you happen on the right shade of brown, with a slight metallic edge (slight, don’t go overboard), then it all suddenly falls into place. And if brown eyeshadow feels to safe and

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NEW FOUNDATIONS MAC Matchmaster Foundation SPF 15, €36. This has taken two years to develop and is available in 14 shades, with medium coverage that claims to “reveal rather than conceal” the skin’s natural understones. The texture is almost gluey and I did find it quite difficult to blend, but it does actually look quite nude and sheer on the skin, which is exactly what you want from a foundation really.

SHADY LADY: Brown eyeshadow is making a comeback so choose your type. Picture: iStock conservative, then you can edge the whole look up a bit with spikey OTT lashes, particularly on the bottom lash line. I experimented with Korres Sunflower and Evening Primose Eyeshadow in Brun, €14.50, and lined the eyes with Yves Saint Laurent’s Dessin Du Regard Waterproof Eyeliner in Patent Leather, €25, (a nice soft brown) before finishing off with very stark black mascara courtesy of Lancome’s Hypnose Doll Eyes, €25.50, with spikey bottom lashes brilliantly created by Clinique’s Bottom Lash Mascara, €14. The good thing about investing in a brown eyeshadow this season is that while you can dress it up in a major way for a big night out (lash on the eyeliner and you’ve got a modern take on the smokey eye), it’s also a good

office-wear look, matched either with a bright pink lipstick or a poppy red shade (avoid dark berries with brown eyeshadow, you need something that will lift the skin and contrast well with it, not something that’s going to make the face washed out). Similarly if you are wearing your brown eyes against a matte complexion this season, then make sure you give a pop of soft pink colour to the cheeks. And the best piece of advice? Invest in a really, really good eyeshadow brush. Brown, like the shades of navy and dark grey, really needs to be blended properly, and you aren’t going to be able to do that with a Q-Tip or a seven-year-old balding sponge tipped applicator. Buy a good brush, you’ll have it for years and it’ll transform the way your eyeshadow goes on. Honest.

lovely and smooth despite being a powder. You as you can apply it with bare fingers. Use it with an existing shimmery metallic shade for evening.

shadow in Smokey Brun, €7.95. Okay, this is the kind of brown eyeshadow quad that may have earned brown the reputation of being a bit boring, but you can’t really argue with this one — it’s wearable, flattering and pretty. It might not rock your world, but it’d certainly look nice with a hot pink lipstick.

Clinique Repairwear Laserfocus All Smooth Makeup SPF 15, €35. Clinique’s Repairwear Laserfocus makeup is a sister product to the Repairwear Laserfocus Serum and is deigned to soften the look of fine lines and wrinkles over time. It has quite a moisturising feel to it and is good for dry or very dry complexions. Blends in well and looks natural through the day. Lancome Teint Miracle Natural Light Creator Bare Skin Perfection, €39.50. It’s all about the “bare skinned” look these days – the foundation trend is for a light, flawless and semi-matte finish, but without that “made up” look. There are only two shades available – a light rosy shade for a porcelain effect and an apricot-tinged tone for a healthy glow. It smoothed onto the skin really well, and has a very slight powdery effect. It gives the skin a flawless finish without looking too done, and it’s a good one for carrying with you if you need top-ups through the day.

STUFF WE LIKE Mac Eyeshadow in Carbonized, €15. If you’re more into a smokey shade of brown, then ease yourself into things gently with this eyeshadow. It’s easy to blend and gives good coverage. If you want a more directional look, then blend with the dirty mustard shade of Outré. Mix it all up with the Eye Kohl in Teddy, €17.50, a sexy bronze. Bobbi Brown Eyeshadow in Rich Cashmere, €22. This has real depth of texture, with a rich creamy formulation that feels


Giorgio Armani Maestro Eyeshadow in Tobacco, €24.50. This is what it says it is – a tobacco coloured eye shadow, but boy what a shadow. Giorgio Armani seem to have really hit the chic nail on the head with this one – a flattering, pretty colour, and while it is definitely expensive, Armani eyeshadows are by far the creme de la creme of eye makeup. Rimmel London Glam’ Eyes Quad Eye-

Nars Single Eyeshadow in Bali, €24. If you’re nervous about leaping into brown, sometimes it’s better to start safely – and this is the kind of neutral, flattering shade that suits everyone. You can tone it down during the day with a simple sweep of mascara or glam it up for nighttime with black


kohl eyeliner and lashings of mascara. Clarins Eye Quartet Mineral Palette, €40. Clarins is mixing it up this season with a palette that actually looks like it’s more suited to summer collections than autumn ones, but we like the shadows in this one. You can create a number of looks hooked around the brown shadow and there’s enough versatility here to keep you going right through to spring/summer and maybe even beyond.



Natural health

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My six-year-old daughter is grinding her teeth every night and I am worried about her teeth. I have slept with her and it is really bad, it is continuous and lasts for long intervals all through the night. She still has a lot of her teeth but is losing some of the front ones at the moment.

Megan Sheppard Do you have a question for Megan Sheppard? Email it to or send a letter to Feelgood Irish Examiner City Quarter Lapps Quay Cork

A. The involuntary clenching, grinding and gnashing of teeth is known as bruxism. Around half of sleepers suffer from bruxism at some point, but only around 5% of people are habitual in their teeth grinding. Bruxism generally occurs at night, however some people may experience it during waking hours. Typically it is a sign of stress — which can be linked to anxiety, anger, upset, or concentration on a particular issue or problem. However, when it occurs in babies and young children, it is wise to factor in the eruption of new teeth. At six years of age, and given that you have already mentioned that your daughter is losing her teeth, this is almost certainly a significant factor in her nightly teeth grinding. While this is unlikely to cause many long-standing issues, it is worth checking to see if she is getting headaches, jaw pain, or cracked enamel on her teeth. Also, if she tends to clench her jaw when she is emotional or in deep concentration, then you may need to factor in stress or anxiety as an additional cause. Relaxation techniques or Cognitive behaviour therapy could be of some help, as can flower essences — vibrational remedies which are safe for children, pets, and even house plants. These essences are wonderful for easing us through transitions in our lives and work well to effect change on a subtle emotional level. Most flower remedy brands suggest a dosage of four to six drops, however, I find it easiest to add a dropperful into the child’s water bottle so that they remember to take the remedy and it is not a drama to administer. If you feel that your daughter might benefit from some outside specialist help, then contact the Clermont Clinic in Douglas Rd, Cork. (; 021-429 4590). Q. I am 63 and have been diagnosed with H. Pylori. My doctor is suggesting a course of antibiotics. Is there an alternative treatment? A. Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a spiral shaped bacterium which surrounds itself with ammonia in order to safely survive the acidic environment of the stomach. It then burrows through the mucous membrane and attaches itself to the epithelial cells, which thins out the lining. The ammonia is what creates the inflammation and ulcers in the stomach membrane. The treatment that I generally recommend for individuals who have been diagnosed with


A REAL MOUTHFUL: Tooth grinding by young children while they sleep is often caused by the eruption of new teeth. Picture: iStock

H. pylori is both very simple and completely natural. Mastic gum, which is the resin of the Pistacia lentiscus tree, works to destroy H. pylori whilst helping to restore digestive function and reduce intestinal inflammation. Mastika is a supplement containing 500mg of mastic gum and can be purchased from health stores where 60 x 500mg capsules cost €27.17. You will need to take 3 x 500mg capsules before bed each night for the first month, then reduce the dosage to 2 x 500mg capsules before bed for the following month. If you are still experiencing symptoms, then continue with this dosage for longer; once you are no longer experiencing symptoms, then reduce the dosage to 1 x 500mg capsule for a further month before discontinuing the Mastic gum. Mastic gum has been proven to cure stomach ulcers, killing off H. Pylori, and repairing the site of the ulceration. Conventional treatment of H. pylori with antibiotics can cause the bacteria to develop a resistant strain, which means that stronger medication is required. Mastic gum actually destroys even these resistant strains of H. pylori as well as providing symptomatic relief. It also assists in repairing any damage caused by regular medication with aspirin, and may provide relief from reflux conditions.

the nail to a laboratory for analysis. The results showed a fungus present beneath the nail. He is recommending a four-month course of medication to clear it up. Do I have any alternative other than taking the medication prescribed and risking side effects associated with the drug? A. This is one of those conditions which indicates that your immune system could do with some support, since it should normally work to eradicate the fungal infection rather than allowing it to take hold. Since you are dealing with a long-standing fungal infection, you should focus on supporting your thymus gland. The thymus is where the T-lymphocytes (T-cells) are produced, which are responsible for fighting fungal infection. Internally, I would recommend taking five to 10 drops of nascent iodine, three to four times daily. Be sure to take the nascent iodine on an empty stomach, and remember that frequent small doses are more effective than larger amounts taken less often. Nascent iodine is available from Pauline Hamilton of Maiden Enterprises. She can be contacted via email at, or via post: Pauline Hamilton, Maiden Enterprises, Cloon, Castletownroche, Mallow, Co Cork. Her website is You can also take external remedies on fungal nail infections — try essential oils of manuka, tea tree, or lemon balm and apply neat to the affected area with a cotton bud.

Q. Two years ago the nails on my big toe became discoloured. Unfortunately I had similar problems with the second nail and subsequent nails. I consulted with my doctor recently, who sent clippings from

■ NOTE: The information contained above is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult a doctor first.

Megan puts the spotlight on:


T is worth stocking up on a few of the antioxidant foods — and not just the expensive superfoods harvested from far-flung places, chances are you already have some of these awesome A-listers in your kitchen already. Cocoa, or cacao, powder, actually contains more antioxidant power than most fruit and vegetables. Choose raw cacao where possible, however regular cocoa powder still packs a punch. Avoid Dutch-processed cocoa, since most of the flavonoids are destroyed during the treatment with alkali (to temper the bitterness). Cocoa lends itself well to both sweet and savoury dishes, and is par-


ticularly delicious when mixed into fruit smoothies or hot porridge. Blueberries have quite the reputation as a potent antioxidant food, and are both low calorie and high in fibre. Wild blueberries are even more loaded with anthocyanins, which are the reason why all blueberries are linked to an improvement in insulin sensitivity. Frozen blueberries are also packed with nutrients, so you can enjoy the berry benefits all year round. The dark leafy greens are all high-antioxidant foods, but kale is particularly nutritious, with even more betacarotene than

The A-List antioxidants carrots or sweet potatoes. It also contains plenty of lutein, which helps to protect and nourish the eyes. Adding a high-antioxidant dressing, such as extra-virgin olive oil, to your kale salad will improve the absorption of the carotenoids since they are fat-soluble. Tea lovers might want to switch from black to green, or even white, for their brew. Green and white teas contain an antioxidant called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) which is believed to fight some cancers, improve the health of eyes and gums, and even help with weight loss. To infuse, use water at 70C-80C , and steep for around three minutes. Green tea can be used in cooking as well as an infusion — matcha powder is great in smoothies or


even in baking. The last antioxidant super hitter is the humble apple. Apples are high in quercetin, which helps to kill off cancerous cells and protect DNA from oxidative damage. Leave the peel on though, since almost all of the quercetin is found within and just under the skin. Pectin, the fibre found in apple skin, also helps to boost the absorption of quercetin — another reason to eat your apple skin and all. Picture: iStock




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Introducing the World’s First Invisible In-The-Ear-Canal Hearing Aid...

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Think hearing aids should be heard, not seen? Then the new Soundlens by Starkey is for you. Soundlens is the first custom fit invisible-in-the-canal hearing aid, featuring the latest, most advanced technology on the market today - meaning it’s completely invisible, and totally designed to fit your lifestyle. Friends will notice your hearing is better. They won’t notice why. HIGH PERFORMANCE FEATURES ARE INTENDED TO: • Reduce listening effort and mental fatigue in noisy environments • Virtually eliminate whistling or buzzing • Let you talk easily on the phone • Provide a comfortable fit, designed for your ear • Suit your lifestyle and budget with a variety of styles and technology levels We also specialise in... CUSTOMISED HEARING PROTECTION For industrial, music, swimming and motor sports usage OCCUPATIONAL HEARING CONSERVATION PROGRAMMES Workplace noise assessments. Assessment of hearing protection requirements. Occupational audiometry SOFT LASER THERAPY FOR THE TREATMENT OF TINNITUS TOP CONSULTING AUDIOLOGIST LEADING OUR TEAM Graham Quin is a graduate of University College Cork, Trinity College Dublin and holds a Masters Degree in Audiology from the world renowned Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR) at the University of Southampton.

Crowley’s Opticians & Hearing Aid Clinic 26 GRAND PARADE, CORK 021 4271351

GRAHAM M. QUIN BE MSc (Audiology) Dip SHWW Dip Env Eng CEng MIEI MIOSH Consulting Audioligist



Feelgood 23-09-2011  
Feelgood 23-09-2011  

Feelgood 23-09-2011