Parkinson’s sufferer Connie Doolan from Kilcummin. Photo: Michelle Crean

“We are being forgotten about”

By Michelle Crean

A Kilcummin man who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease says patients in Kerry have been begging for funding for 10 years for specialist nurses – but their pleas are being ignored.
Currently there are no nurses available in the county for Parkinson’s sufferers, and Connie Doolan (62), who was diagnosed with the disease in 2010, says many patients feel left out in the cold.
Connie, who is Chair of the Parkinson’s Association of Ireland South Kerry branch, is lending his voice for more specialised care for Kerry patients – following a national protest outside Leinster House in Dublin yesterday (Thursday), as part of World Parkinson’s Day and Parkinson’s Awareness Week this week.
Although many from Kerry couldn’t travel due to the complexity of their illness, protesters say that the Government has failed to provide core funding to the Parkinson’s Association.
Connie says that in Kerry repeated attempts for funding from the HSE over the years has fallen on deaf ears.
“We know there’s no cure for it,” Connie told the Killarney Advertiser this week.
“We’re fighting for a nurse for 10 years and they’re giving us the run around. They keep saying they’ll look into it. We wrote to the HSE again in November but they never got back to us. We feel left out completely – forgotten about – it’s ridiculous. They have nurses for every other disease.”
He said that access to services is limited for Parkinson’s patients, but having a nurse who could call to people’s homes would give people some relief.
His group hold monthly meetings in the meeting room at the Church of the Resurrection in Killarney, and on Monday night dietician Elaine Walsh gave a talk on nutrition. However, he says more needs to be done to help them.
“There’s people out there who don’t come to the meetings. It would be a relief to have a nurse allocated to Kerry who could call to their homes.”

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