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Donegal County Councillor is hale and hearty after cheating death

Ian McGarvey ignored a pain in his left arm for the best part of two years

Tom Comack

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Tom Comack

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tom.comack@donegaldemocrat.com

Donegal County Councillor is hale and hearty after cheating death

Cllr Ian McGarvey is a lucky man

Independent member of Donegal County Council Cllr Ian McGarvey, the oldest elected public representative in Ireland, is a lucky man.

After ignoring warnings and cheating death for the best part of two years Cllr McGarvey is hale and hearty again after a life-saving heart procedure.
From Ramelton and in his third term on Donegal County Council the 89-year-old is the current chairman of the Letterkenny Municipal District and former Mayor of Donegal.
He was first elected to Donegal County Council at the age of 74.
Over the past two years he ignored a pain in his left arm and it was not until in the early days of this year when the pain moved to his chest he decided to do something about it.
And now after a heart procedure in a Dublin hospital he is hale and hearty again and carrying out his council duties. Indeed he is looking forward once again to contesting the next local elections in May.
“I used to get a pain in my arm from time to time over the last couple of years and I was supposed to have a number of stress tests in that time,” said Cllr McGarvey.
“I didn’t feel stressed and I don’t do stress. Any time the tests were on I was always too busy with other things so I never got around to having one.”
When the pain moved to his chest after Christmas, though, he did take it a little more seriously and he finally decided to have it checked out.
“I was at home here, it was a Wednesday afternoon, and I was about to go out the door to the Public Services Centre in Milford to do some work.
“Before I left I rang my doctor, Dr Cuffe, and told him I was going down to the Public Services Centre and I would not be back before he finished in the surgery.
“So I asked him if he could do a letter for the hospital and leave it into the nursing home and I would collect it later.”
Ian lives close to the Ramelton Community Hospital and he duly collected the letter with the intention of heading up to Letterkenny University Hospital the next morning, Thursday.
But Marjorie, his wife of 65 years, had other ideas and with a little gentle persuasion he made the ten minutes journey up the road to the hospital on the Wednesday night.
And as luck would have it the mobile angiogram unit was in Letterkenny the following day.
After a night in the Emergency Department, Ian had his angiogram on Thursday morning and by lunchtime plans were being put in place for him to travel to St James's Hospital in Dublin for a heart procedure.
“We left Letterkenny at 7am on the Friday morning and we were pulling up at St James’s at 11 am.
“They wheeled me straight from the ambulance to the Cat Lab and I was out again at 4pm. I would have been back in Letterkenny that night if they had a bed for me.”
“I had four stents inserted, one to a main artery and the other three to smaller arteries.”
Ian spent the weekend in St James’s and returned to Letterkenny on Monday and after spending a few hours in Letterkenny University Hospital he was home in his own corner on Monday evening.
“I was walking along the corridor in Letterkenny and I met this woman from Ramelton who works in the hospital.
“She ended up taking me home on the Monday evening.”
He had the procedure in St James’s on Friday, January 25 and before the first day of Spring he was out and about again and back working, serving his local community.
“I feel fine again, I was back working after two days. But other than the pain in my arm first and then in the chest I always felt fine. I never felt tired and I always had loads of energy.
“The only thing that is different is the pain is gone.”