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Cystic fibrosis sufferer urges ‘selfish’ people not to break restrictions

Campaigner Jillian McNulty has appealed to people to abide by Covid-19 restrictions aimed at saving lives.

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Jillian McNulty is a cystic fibrosis campaigner (Jillian McNulty/PA)

Jillian McNulty is a cystic fibrosis campaigner (Jillian McNulty/PA)

Jillian McNulty is a cystic fibrosis campaigner (Jillian McNulty/PA)

A prominent cystic fibrosis (CF) sufferer and campaigner who is currently in hospital has urged people not to break Covid-19 restrictions over the May bank holiday weekend.

Jillian McNulty from Co Longford has campaigned for the rights of CF patients for the past 12 years.

She is on the life-saving drug Orkambi after spearheading the campaign to allow Irish patients access to it.

Ms McNulty said while her life has been dramatically transformed by Orkambi, she suffered kidney failure last year and has been in and out of hospital since.

“In December I was in hospital for an infection following a cold and there were serious complications with IV treatment and my dialysis, I ended up in a coma for 10 days, I was lucky to survive. When I woke up I couldn’t walk, talk or do anything for myself so had to learn to do everything again.

“So this episode has thrown a bit of a spanner in the works, I’m still recovering and currently in hospital just over a week now, likely to be a few weeks’ stay as I’ve lost a lot of weight and infection is quite bad. Usually though now, hospital admissions are 1-2 a year.”

She says people who are complaining about the restrictions need to keep people like her in mind as she cannot leave her hospital room or have visitors.

“I think people complaining about restrictions really need to cop on and just get on with it, if we want rid of this virus, isolation is a must for everyone. At least they are at home, in my hospital patients with CF are not allowed leave our rooms nor are we allowed visitors and that’s tough but we have no choice, it’s for our own good so we just have to get on with it.”

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Photograph: (Jillian McNulty/PA)

Photograph: (Jillian McNulty/PA)

Photograph: (Jillian McNulty/PA)

She said people meeting up to have parties and flouting the restrictions are “selfish”.

She said as the bank holiday approaches, people may be more tempted to break restrictions.

“It’s a worrying time for anyone with CF and their families as they too have to isolate so they don’t carry anything back. But if everyone listened and were regimented about hand hygiene, coughing etiquette then this will pass.

“It is extremely frustrating to see people out partying on their streets or going out in groups and not caring about anyone and not taking this virus seriously. It’s incredibly selfish.

“I would urge anyone considering breaking the restrictions to stop and stay at home, the longer people continue to disregard the rules the longer the whole country will be in lockdown.

“My life is restricted enough with having cystic fibrosis and being in kidney failure tied to a machine all night long, I long to just be able to go for a drive to the beach in Galway or Sligo, to be able to go for a nice meal or a coffee, so the sooner everyone listens the sooner we can all get back to life.”

She believes the Government has done a good job so far but were too slow to implement measures at the start of the crisis.

“We are an island, we could have really controlled the virus – flights should have been shut down and people could have been prevented from entering the country,” she said.

PA