Tuesday 22 October 2019

Unity walk highlights lack of specialist services for Parkinson's in the South East

St Patrick’s Fife and Drum Band supplied the music for the event
St Patrick’s Fife and Drum Band supplied the music for the event
Joan and Pat Walsh
William Kennedy, Kelly Stone and Eoin Noel

Simon Bourke

The people of Wexford turned out in force on Saturday to highlight the lack of specialist services for those suffering from Parkinson's in the South East.

Organised by the Wexford branch of the Parkinson's Assocation of Ireland, the Unity Walk saw more than one hundred people make their way from the Tourist Office to the bridge, among them several people who live with the condition daily.

Breda Kennedy's husband has Parkinson's, and she has been actively campaigning for those suffering from the disease for many years. 'We were trying to let people know that we're out there and highlight the need for specialist clinical nurses in the South East. There's only five of them in the country, three in Dublin, one in Limerick, and one in Galway.'

Attended by Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Mental Health James Browne TD and by Mayor of Wexford Tony Dempsey, the walk was accompanied by music from a Fife and Drum band, their job to create a rhythmic beat, a recognised method of aiding those with Parkinson's as they carry out demanding physical tasks.

And although the Government is providing some funding to help those with the disease, Breda said a lot more needs to be done.

'They're giving €60,000 funding to Parksinsons for the whole country which is a pittance, it'll benefit nobody. For example, if my husband needs any of his medication changed we have to wait 6-8 months before we're back up in the Mater to see a neurologist. But if there was a specialist nurse they could make the decision and you'd see them quicker.'

Confirming that Deputy Browne has vowed to help them 'no matter what', Breda said that one only had to look to the North to see how poorly resourced the HSE is in this department.

'There's 12,000 people with Parkinson's in the country, there's 31 nurses in the North, but there's only five in the other 26 counties,' she said.

Wexford People

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