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Autumn 2012

The following news report from RTE and other news sources on September 3rd, 4th and 5th 2012 shows the difficulties disabled people face now and in the future. And the need for organisations and people to work together and stand together to protect the interests and living standards and opportunities (for social and economic advancement) of disabled people. Click on links below to view video in frame below.

RTE news report - Disabled People Protesting outside Irish parliament, against cuts to Personal Assistants and Home Help, September 4th 2012 (Video 1)

Disabled People protesting outside Irish parliament against cuts September 2012 (Video 2)

Disabled People protesting outside Irish parliament against cuts September 2012 (Video 3)

Disabled People protesting outside Irish parliament against cuts September 2012 (Video 4)


Report 2


Summer 2012

The flower power that could kill cancer

It is a tiny lilac flower that blossoms in our meadows at this time of year. As the trees turn gold and the harvest moon lights the night sky, the autumn crocus makes its debut; a picture of purity and grace in the seasonal chill.

But there is nothing straight-laced about this last-minute bloomer. Since ancient times, its medicinal powers have bewildered and enthralled scientists, but the deadly poison that oozes from its petals to its roots has always hindered its curative potential. Until now.

This week, researchers at the University of Bradford brought hope to millions when they claimed that they had found a way to use this toxic flower as a cancer 'smart bomb' which can seek out and destroy all types of solid tumours, while leaving healthy tissue unharmed.

For several months, the team have been left spellbound in their labs as they watched tumour-ridden mice with breast, bowel, lung and prostate cancer make full recoveries after being treated with a chemical compound found in the plant called colchicine.The treatment was so effective that half of the mice went into total remission after just one injection, while the restexperienced a dramatic reduction in tumour growth.

The team, led by Professor Laurence Patterson, said the breakthrough was "unprecedented" in cancer research, and human trials using the wonder bulb are expected to begin at St James's Hospital, Leeds, within the next 18 months.What makes this new drug so novel is its ability to track down and target cancerous tumours as it courses through the bloodstream. Bypassing healthy tissue, it becomes active only when it finds enzymes produced by malignant cells, at which point it detonates.

The compound then becomes active, smashing the blood supply to the tumour and destroying its survival network. The fact that it does no harm to healthy tissue reduces the side effects associated with traditional chemotherapies, such as nausea, infection and hair loss. In this golden era for cancer treatment, new successes are coming thick and fast. In Germany this week, the shelves of supermarkets were selling out of flaxseeds, after chemists there discovered that a sprinkling at breakfast could reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer by 40pc. These high-protein seeds contain lignans, which kill off cancer cells and stop secondary tumours from growing by cutting the growth of new blood vessels.

At the University of Munich, another revolutionary weapon in the war against humanity's most baffling disease has just been developed. Medical engineers have created a tiny device that can monitor tumours from inside the body, transmitting information to a doctor when something suspicious turns up.

The chip implant, called IntelliTuM, is intended to be implanted near the tumour and can detect a drop in oxygen in the patient's tissue, which suggests the disease is spreading.The device, which is about to be tested on animals, could reduce the need for endless hospital appointments and nerve-racking scans.With each new departure, there is growing reason to believe that the battle against cancer has reached a turning point and we are finally getting to grips with this sinister enemy.

New figures show that while the number of cancer cases in Ireland has almost doubled since the '90s, survival rates have shot up, too. Patients can now expect a 50pc chance of living for five years after a diagnosis compared to 40pc in the '90s. After almost a century of cancer research, oncologists know that this is the most exciting chapter in their profession's history. The doom and gloom often associated with a diagnosis is increasingly unfounded as the disease moves from being one that patients die from to a chronic condition they can live with, like diabetes or high blood pressure.

Science is still reluctant to speak of cures but it has by now uncovered most of the dark secrets of malignant cells, and is more capable of stopping them in their tracks than ever before.

Source: Gemma O'Doherty, Irish Independent newspaper, September 2011

Fine Gael Press Office
Senator Martin Conway
Seanad Spokesperson on Disability and Equality

Friday, January 27th 2012

Momentous week for people with disabilities – Conway
Govt to act on Seanad Motion on disabilities
Fine Gael Clare Senator and Seanad Spokesperson on Disability and Equality, Martin Conway, has said that it’s been a momentous week for people with disabilities in this country. Senator Conway was speaking after the Government vowed to act on a Private Members Motion on disability supported by all parties in the Seanad. 

“I would like to take this opportunity to commend Senator Mary Ann O’Brien and her Independent colleagues for tabling a ground-breaking Private Members Motion on the question of the rights of people with disabilities in Ireland. It calls on the Government to fast track mental capacity legislation and to publish a value for money audit on funding for disability support groups.  “The Motion also calls on the Government to introduce individualised budgeting to help people with disabilities and their families to choose support services most suited to their personal requirements. The Motion was one of the most comprehensive in the area of disabilities to be introduced and supported in the Oireachtas for a long time.

“I am greatly encouraged by the fact that the Government is taking heed of the issues highlighted in the motion. Minister of State, Kathleen Lynch, who gave an informed contribution to the Seanad debate, has now committed to introducing mental capacity legalisation, which brings Ireland to a position where it could ratify the U.N Convention on the rights of people with disabilities. Far more importantly, it will modernise the legalisation which affects the lives of all citizens with intellectual disabilities. 

“Minister Lynch has also committed to publish the value for money audit and act on its recommendations. This will ensure that the maximum possible resources will be used to enhance the lives of people with disabilities instead of being wasted on rent, administration, endless reports and paying the wages of senior management in the groups involved.  “As the Fine Gael Spokesperson who proposed the Government’s amendment in the Seanad, I was delighted to have played a key role in persuading my Government colleagues to have unanimity in this issue, which should not be party-political. 

“Thanks to the contents of this Seanad Motion, and the subsequent commitments received from Minister Lynch, I believe there is reason to be hopeful for the year ahead for the 750,000 people in Ireland with a declared disability.