European Epilepsy Day was marked in Offaly by the unveiling of a new name for Ireland's epilepsy organisation and results from a recent survey on knowledge and attitudes on the condition. The event took place in the Tullamore Court Hotel on Monday, February 11.
Speaking to the gathered crowd, which included TDs Marcella Corcoran Kennedy and Barry Cowen as well as senator John Whelan and local representatives, Margaret Basset said Brainwave, the Epilepsy Association is from now on to known as Epilepsy Ireland.
At the meeting statistics that were described as "stark" by Deputy Cowen, "food for thought" by Deputy Corcoran Kennedy and "pretty shocking even for me" by Ms Bassett were revealed to those gathered. According to a survey carried out with 1,000 respondents on the request of Epilepsy Ireland just last month, a massive one in five employers admitted that they would not employ someone with epilepsy. The same survey revealed that 43 per cent of all asked would not know what to do if faced with someone having a seizure. Worryingly 18 per cent said they would try to restrain the person having a seizure, while 50 per cent said they would put something in the person's mouth. Both actions could lead to serious injury, Ms Bassett said. In addition according to the figures a tenth of those surveyed think epilepsy is contagious.
Speaking at the event Barry Cowen, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy and John Whelan all welcomed the new name. Deputy Cowen and Senator Stanley both admitted that, like most respondents, they would be unsure of what to do if faced with someone having a seizure. "There is a cure for ignorance, and that is information," Senator Whelan added however.
Deputy Cowen promised to bring the report to the attention of Fianna Fail, while Deputy Corcoran Kennedy promised support for efforts in any way she can.
An epilepsy information evening will be held in the Tullamore Court Hotel on March 26 next thanks to sponsorship from Covidien.