Dublin Samaritans’ Volunteers double their hours to cope with pandemic pressure

EVERY six minutes someone in distress phones Dublin Samaritans. The ‘listening’ service provides a lifeline to thousands of people in Ireland each year who are troubled, in distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide. Run by volunteers, many have doubled their listening hours to ensure that the service can remain open 24/7 at this crucial time. Read more


Where is the “fairness” for family carers in Covid-19 vaccination programme?

Family Carers Ireland deplores the continued failure to prioritise family carers in the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine. Read more

Top Toys to Manage Pets’ Fitness

Petmania has launched its fifth annual Operation TransPAWmation amid evidence that pandemic pets are piling on the pounds. The free eight-week health and wellbeing programme is run online with weekly updates, a food diary, exercise and diet tips plus exclusive advice from small animal Vet, Carol Doyle for those who register for free before March 31st. Read more


Family Carers Ireland (FCI) has teamed up with Ireland’s favourite cook and blogger, The Wonky Spatula, to get the nation FLIPPING FOR FAMILY CARERS!

The event starts LIVE on Family Carers Ireland’s Facebook via the Carers’ Coffee Club on (Pancake) Tuesday, 16th February at 11am with The Wonky Spatula, Nicola Halloran. This will be a fun 30 minute live demo of Nicola making pancakes, doing flips and talking all things fillings.

Then it’s over to the public to do their own flip (or flop!), share it on social media and nominate friends and family to do the same and donate €4 for family carers.

Flip, share and donate €4 through www.familycarers.ie. It’s that easy!


Operation TransPAWmation Free Webinar with Vet Carol Doyle

Petmania’s Operation TransPAWmation launches

Petmania has launched its fifth annual Operation TransPAWmation. The pet specialists are now inviting pet-owners to join Vet, Carol Doyle for a Pet Health Webinar when they sign up for free to Operation TransPAWmation. Read more


Family Carers Ireland is deeply concerned at comments reportedly made by the Health Minister at this week’s Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting regarding the vaccination of family carers.

The Irish Examiner reports today that in response to a number of his party colleagues calling for family carers to be prioritised for vaccination, Minister Stephen Donnelly said that “if a healthy carer is vaccinated, it reduced the number of vaccines to be administered to those being cared for in the home”.

Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Policy with Family Carers Ireland is disputing this claim:

“A large number of family carers are caring for loved ones under the age of 16 and therefore the person they are caring for is not yet being vaccinated which contradicts the Minister’s statement. Also if that same logic were to be applied to healthy paid care workers, would they then not be prioritised?

The failure to include family carers as a priority group for vaccination is causing huge upset and concern. While some fall under the categories outlined for priority due to their age or own health conditions, many will not. Who will care for the ‘vulnerable’ person if their family carer falls ill with Covid and at what cost to the State, not to mention the pressure this would put on our already over-burdened hospitals?”

There are approximately 116,000 full time family carers in Ireland presently in receipt of the Carer’s Support Grant which is a non-means-tested payment paid to those providing in excess of 35 hours per week of care in the home for a loved one. If this group were to be prioritised, it would go a long way towards supporting family carers providing high levels of care for vulnerable loved ones in the home.

Family Carers Ireland has seen a letter (dated January 13th) from the Office of the Chief Clinical Officer with the HSE in response to a question from Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson David Cullinane which states that family carers “are likely to be considered in the key worker group” which is under category six of the priority listings. This is at odds with comments made by the Health Minister in the Dáil last week that “family carers as a group are not in any individual cohort” and “may fall into different cohorts, based on age, for example”.

Family Carers Ireland has written to the High-Level Task Force on Covid-19 Vaccination requesting that family carers are included as a priority group for vaccination; and are part of the IPPOSI coalition seeking vaccination prioritisation. It has pledged to continue to lobby strongly on this issue to ensure family carers are not forgotten.

“It is vital that our Government understand the necessity to bring family carers into the priority categories for vaccinations as a matter of urgency,” added Ms Cox.

Family carers who need support with any aspect of their caring role, can contact the National Freephone Careline 1800 24 07 24 or see www.familycarers.ie for more

Fat cats and doggone puppy fat – Is your pet putting on a paunch?

PicturedCarol Doyle, Small Animal Vet and Ambassador for Petmania’s Operation TransPAWmation with Petmania Portlaoise Puppy of the Year 2020 Kyra. Image credit: Jeff Harvey

 Petmania launch fifth annual Operation TransPAWmation

As Petmania launches the fifth annual Operation TransPAWmation there is evidence that pandemic pooches have been piling on the pounds. A UK based Cat Protection charity found1 that one in five cats put on two to five pounds during lockdown. Owners are spending more time with their cats and dogs and giving out more treats. Overweight pets are nothing new, according to the 2018 study that found that three in five dogs are overweight2 plus 40 per cent of cats are overweight3.

Launching ‘Operation TransPAWmation’ today, Petmania is encouraging pet-owners to pay particular attention to their pets’ Body Condition Score (BSC) to ensure optimal health for their best friends. The BSC is a visual examination of the pet’s body ranked on a scale from one to nine. A score of one is too thin and nine is dangerously obese. The ideal score is four or five for a healthy pet which can be maintained with exercise and the correct nutrition.

Petmania has teamed up with Small Animal Vet, Carol Doyle for Operation TransPAWmation to help educate pet owner on how they can assess their pets’ Body Condition Score and how they can manage it at home.

Small Animal Vet and spokesperson for Operation TransPAWmation Carol Doyle said,

“In the clinic, more often than not pet-owners are shocked to learn that their pet is overweight. Obesity can lead to devastating health complications like orthopaedic issues, arthritis, cardiorespiratory problems, diabetes and can shorten a pet’s life expectancy and their quality of life. However with the proper know-how it is easily managed.”

Carol went on to say…

“I’m delighted to team up with Petmania’s Operation TransPAWmation and help pet-owners manage their pets health and weight at home. I hope pet owners will join me online for lots of helpful advice and health tips by signing up to Petmania’s Operation TransPAWmation”.

Throughout February and March, Petmania are inviting pet owners to take part in Operation TransPAWmation. The eight-week health and wellbeing programme will be run online with weekly updates, a food diary, exercise and diet hints and tips plus an exciting weekly health-challenges to complete. Pets owners who complete in the weekly challenge and share their new skills on social media with the hashtag #PetmaniaOT will go into a weekly draw to win a Petmania gift-card. All pets who sign up to Petmania OT will also get exclusive access to a special Webinar presented by Operation TransPAWmation ambassador and Small Animal Vet, Carol Doyle and discounts to use on petmania.ie.

Emily Miller of Petmania explain,

“Regular Body Condition Score checks, daily exercise and a well-balanced diet are the keys to maintaining a healthy weight for household pets. Even a small amount of overfeeding can lead to serious health problems over time. Through Operation TransPAWmation we hope to educate pet owners on how to recognise the early signs of weight-gain in their cats and dogs and quickly correct it.”

To get advice, tips and to sign up for Petmania’s Operation TransPAWmation visit www.petmania.ie

Ireland’s largest specialist pet-retailer to open in Sligo

Petmania opens new store – 11 jobs for Sligo

IRISH owned pet-retailer, Petmania is set to open a new mega-store and grooming studio in Sligo town in April 2021. The expansion of Ireland’s largest pet-retail stores will see at least 11 new positions for the county, bring the total number employed by the company to almost 200 jobs.

The new Petmania Sligo store is part of a major three-year expansion program which saw the Irish company, headquartered in Kilkenny, launch an online store and upgrade of three stores in 2020 with two new retail outlets planned for 2021. Petmania already operates 12 stores and dog grooming studios across Ireland.

Positions available at Petmania Sligo include a retail Store Manager and Assistant Manager, experienced full time and part time pet-care advisor, two full time professional dog groomers and one wash and dry assistant. Details of the new positions and how to apply are on www.petmania.ie

As essential retailers, the new Sligo store will be open seven days a week and features a state-of-the-art dog-grooming studio, weight check facilities, specialist pet food and nutritional supplies plus accessories, bedding, safety equipment and much more.

John Timmins, Operations Manager of Petmania Ireland said,

“We share our customers’ passion for pets and are here to help all pet-parents keep their animals safe and well with excellent advice, the best of nutritional supplies and pet-care accessories. Throughout our stores we are committed to maintaining our market-leader status and to setting the highest of standards in the specialist pet retail sector. With this new foothold in the north-west we are delighted to expand our Petmania family across Ireland and we look forward to being part of an active pet-lover’s community in Co. Sligo.” 

Petmania is proud of its community outreach programs and actively get involved with local events including school visits, meet and greets, its pet-health campaign ‘Operation TransPAWmation’, Puppy of the Year’ competition and partnering with local animal shelters.

A progressive, pet-centred retailer, Petmania is proudly setting the standards in pet care throughout Ireland, with intensive training for all their pet care advisors and an internal Grooming Training Programme for their Professional Dog Groomers.

The pet-experts were amongst the first retailers to offer a contactless ‘carry-to-car’ service, and will bring this service, along with their Click & Collect service to their store in Sligo upon opening. Nationwide home delivery is also available via www.petmania.ie

For more information, or to view the current vacancies at Petmania Ireland visit: www.petmania.ie


Family Carers Ireland Launches FREE eLearning Courses for Family Carers

FAMILY Carers Ireland – the national charity representing Ireland’s 500,000 family carers, has launched a suite of free eLearning courses which aims to provide information and guidance to those caring for loved ones at home.

The courses, which can be accessed through www.familycarers.ie, cover five key aspects of caring:

  • Self-care
  • Coping with Grief
  • Nutrition and Hydration
  • Positive Communication
  • Continence Care

Each includes an introduction and overview of the topic and allows family carers to work through the information at a time and pace that suits them. This online initiative is particularly timely given that in-person courses are not possible due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The courses were developed with the support of the Department of Rural and Community Development and the Dormant Accounts Fund administered by Pobal.

Welcoming today’s launch, Family Carers Ireland’s National Lead for Psychosocial Supports Anna de Siún said:

“We are delighted to be launching these eLearning programmes that will allow carers to access valuable information at a time and place that suits them. This is particularly needed at this time when carers cannot attend workshops or education programmes in person. Each programme is designed to give carers the opportunity to enhance their caring skills, and keep themselves well within their caring role. We hope they will complement the suite of resources available through our website, our Careline and our Carer Support Managers around the country.”

Family Carers Ireland is the national charity supporting and advocating for more than 500,000 family carers across the country who dedicate their lives to caring for loved ones such as children or adults with physical or intellectual disabilities, older people, the terminally ill or those suffering from chronic illnesses. It provides a range of services and supports for family carers through its nationwide resource centres , including free online counselling, PPE distribution, online training and its National Freephone Careline .

Family carers wishing to avail of these services or who need support with any aspect of their caring role, can contact the National Freephone Careline 1800 24 07 24 or see www.familycarers.ie for more.



Pictured L-R Andrew Tobin, Gunter Bayer Paul Delahunty

Irish ’private cloud’ company, Stryve, has signed a three year contract with Zevas Communications, a leading customer-contact solutions provider.

Established in 2001, Zevas Communications has customers across Europe, Asia and North America, serving a range of industries including telecommunications and financial services. Zevas provides sales, Customer Experience and contend moderation using innovative technology and a ‘customer first’ approach.

With the increasing amount of critical data that the company was storing, it needed to move to a cloud-based solution. Zevas had concerns about moving to a public cloud solution. The nature of a public cloud platform left Zevas open to cybersecurity breaches, something that the company was keen to prevent. Their search for state of the art infrastructure, without the large price tag, led them to Irish private cloud provider, Stryve.

Stryve is growing its reputation as hands-on specialist who tailor their cloud solutions to the bespoke needs of SME’s throughout the UK and Ireland. The growing company, which recently announced 10 additional jobs, deploys cutting edge security technology and cloud solutions with personal access to expert support at an affordable price point, all underpinned by ISO security accreditation and Stryve’s own, secure, state-of-the-art private data centre in Cork.

Stryve designed a tailored private cloud solution for Zevas which offers secure private cloud platform and continuous protection. The company has a track record of zero downtime and offers the flexibility to scale and adapt as Zevas continues to expand, with significant cost savings included.

David Cashman, Chief Commercial Officer with Zevas explains, 

It is rare to find a company that is on the same page about how to do things. I have been following the investment Stryve has made in infrastructure lately and every solution design by  Stryve gives us confidence to partner with them for our storage and security needs.” 

Stryve prides itself on being accessible to its clients, offering a team of experts available at the end of a phone. Clients need to know that they have the IT support and the backup they need 24/7 and that they are not going to get routed to a call centre offshore that only opens during office hours.

Stryve CEO, Andrew Tobin said,

“Companies need the back-up of a flexible, available, adaptable and local team that will tailor services to their bespoke needs as they grow. Stryve has a world-class team from our hub in Carlow and clients can rest assured that they have the IT support and the back-up they need from experts that they can talk to.”

For more see: www.stryvesecure.com   | www.zevas.com