As Minister for Health Simon Harris launched the first ever Asthma Awareness Week today, the Asthma Society shared some scary statistics about the illness.
Asthma-related deaths are on the rise, with one person in Ireland losing their life every five days as a result of closed airways.
Worryingly, two out of every three people with asthma do not have an Asthma Action Plan and are therefore at risk of a potentially fatal asthma attack.
Society is now calling on those suffering with asthma to get an Asthma Action Plan. Research was conducted after the troubling recent figures for asthma deaths were published, and are still on the rise.
Only 63 percent of the 1,000 people surveyed knew there was a 5 Step Rule for managing an asthma attack, and two out of three people with asthma haven't spoken to their doctor in the last six months. Three out of five people with asthma also don't use their inhaler all year round.
90 percent of people with asthma don't carry an Asthma Attack Card with them at all times, and 20 percent wouldn't know the six most common symptoms of an asthma attack, according to the Asthma Management.
CEO of Asthma Society, Sarah O’Connor, said:
“It is truly frightening that asthma deaths are on the rise in Ireland. The survey results showed that, in the event of an asthma attack, most people wouldn’t know the necessary steps to take to save a life (the 5 Step Rule). 470,000 people in Ireland have asthma and 60% do not have their asthma in control, greatly increasing the risk of suffering a fatal asthma attack."
UK research into asthma deaths showed that having an up-to-date Asthma Action Plan made it far less likely that a person would experience a fatal asthma attack. Through Asthma Awareness Week, it is hoped that people nationwide will put an Asthma Action Plan into place.
Minister for Health, Simon Harris, said:
“I am strongly supporting the Asthma Society’s campaign today, encouraging people to take control of their asthma. Asthma management is extremely important. It allows people with the condition to live a longer, healthier and happier life. I encourage everyone to put an Asthma Action Plan in place – it is the one of the best asthma management tools available.
"People with asthma can work with their GP or asthma nurse or phone the Asthma andCOPD Adviceline for help to create their personalised plan on 1800 44 54 64.”
People with asthma should carry an Asthma Attack Card with them at all times. which details the 5 Step Rule for managing an attack and the symptoms and can be given to a member of the public. This card also contains the person’s emergency details including their next of kin.
Asthma Awareness Week will continue until Friday. To support the Asthma Society, text BREATHE to 50300 to donate €4.
The society's free advice line is 1800-44-54-64 and don't forget to check their website for more information on managing asthma.
Electric Picnic may not kick off until September, but you can be sure that the build-up of anticipation begins long before then, especially when they announce cracking new acts.
Joining huge names such as Florence and the Machine, Hozier, The Strokes, Billie Eilish and The 1975 are chart-topping Scottish singer-songwriter Gerry Cinnamon, Charli XCX making her EP debut and grime rapper J Hus.
Electronica DJ Richie Hawtin was also added to the list, as well as Johnny Marr and Richard Ashcroft. Ireland's biggest music and arts festival is about to get a whole lot more incredible.
The four-piece band have an undeniably dedicated fanbase, clearly responding to lyrics lamenting youth and everything else that comes along with it.
The group is comprised of Fitzgerald, Matthew Murtagh on guitar, Stephen Murtagh playing bass and Dean Gavin on the drumkit, and they are all in their early twenties.
Tales From The Backseat is a hugely impressive debut, and features some of the catchiest songs around right now.
Choosing tracks for the anticipated first album appears to have been a careful affair, the boys recorded most of it in North Hollywood with music veteran Tim Pagnotta.
It's no surprise that the musical offering flew to the top of the charts on home soil.
WE ARE NUMBER ONE!
We just got the news that our debut album 'Tales From The Backseat' is NUMBER ONE in the official album charts!!! Thank you to every single person who picked up a copy. It's an absolute dream come true for us.
Craig, Matt, Stephen and Dean pic.twitter.com/jS3oQHAD94
The boys make music with big pop choruses and indie lyrics, and if you're hearing their songs for the first time, you'll know every word by the time the track concludes.
The lead vocalist and his bandmates have a clear talent for writing music which garner a youthful audience, but does he feel the fans will grow alongside the group?
"I definitely think so. In the first album, there were songs from when we were young, so it made sense. The songs seemed to resonate with younger people. We would like to mature our sound, and that would hopefully intertwine with the fans getting older."
They've clearly figured out how to find comfort on stage, effortlessly show-casing their extensive touring experience.
Craig describes the special ability of their fans to relate their own adolescence with that of the boys' through his lyrics;
"When we go on tour, we do a lot of meeting the fans, we like to go to the merch table and we like to hear what they thought and we get to say hello," he says.
"A lot of the time what amazes me is that the songs are just stories that were specific to me as a teenager, but it’s amazing how someone can adapt the story to something that they’re going through."
From tales of fake ID's on nights out, to the turbulent relationships and friendships which parallel adolescence, The Academic paint a relatable picture of the unique energy of that time in a person's life.
It's immediately obvious when you see the band play live that they value their fans' enjoyment of music, and nerves are a thing of the past.
The band met while still in school, and began gigging once they secured their drummer Dean.
Roughly five years later, the lads are essentially pros at what they do, but touring outside of Ireland can be a game-changer for any group or musician.
"When we started and we were playing shows, you begin shy and just want to make sure that you get up and play well," the 24-year-old cites about their initial shows.
"We’ve been given so many great opportunities to go on long tours, like month long tours in the States and Europe and the UK, and I think particularly when you support so many bands over the last couple of years we’ve become so comfortable as musicians together," he added.
"Even more so than when we were just in a shed playing together. I definitely think you lose that scared feeling that you had, because you just have to get up in front of people and play."
The band have learned some valuable lessons on the road, from song-writing to making friends in high musical places, to general tips on how to command a stage. They keep one important thing in mind in particular;
"That’s one thing I think we’ve learned in the past year, is that if we’re not afraid, people won’t be afraid, and they’ll have a good time with us. When we toured with The Kooks, we just kind of watched them and loved how they were just having fun on stage and it wasn’t too serious."
"One thing that I always try to do when I go on stage, is to break down the wall and say let’s not be afraid to make a fool of ourselves."
"The whole thing is crazy, like the fact that people are staring at you playing music. They drop their barrier when they see you having fun."
Confirmed; we stared, we dropped our barrier, we had fun. Then we bought the t-shirt…
The lads give a lot of time to their fans, and are both aware and respectful of how powerful a fan's love of music can be;
"We appreciate everyone for all their weird and wacky stuff. Music makes them feel a certain way and we appreciate that no matter what it is or whatever song it was that made them attached to us."
Despite their youthful tracklist, high-energy set and the fact that they've only released their debut album this year, the lads have been penning tunes since they were in their mid-teens.
Craig reminisces on the tricks and tips of the trade which his years of the music industry has taught him;
"I’ve been writings since the age of about 15/16, and a lot of those songs are actually on the first album.I think in the beginning, so it’s five years now of song-writing experience, there’s a naivety and you’re not afraid to do anything. Then you start picking up tricks," he muses.
"The one thing I have learned now that we’ve been a band for so long, is that I always want the music to be catchy. One thing I’ve learned is that if it’s catchy, don’t be afraid of it."
For a band who are considered new to mainstream audiences, they have a level of maturity worth noting, especially when it comes to songwriting;
"That’s what people want to come and see, they want to sing along. You shouldn’t lose your innocence about song-writing, you can still think of crazy things and put them in," the vocalist says.
"The beauty is in the imagination, use it, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. It’s very important."
When we asked Craig where he would be if The Academic was never formed, his answer remains musical, unsurprisingly.
"Maybe I would have finished college. I went to BIMM, so I would probably work in a musician’s field. Probably in the studio, that was nearly just as strong as songwriting for me. I enjoyed playing with bands too much, so I made that decision." Thank God he did, for our sakes at least.
After catching their big break after releasing Different from their first EP, radio stations took notice, and it all took off from there. The rest was indie-pop history, but do the lads ever disagree with each other?
You know us, we live for some drama…
"We’re not on the same page all the time (laughs). We usually are in sync when we know a song is good. If a song is obviously screaming out ‘Hey, I’m a good song’, we’re all on board. If there’s a more moody song or more emotional song, that’s when you can have arguments."
"We’ve always written songs together and made sure that everyone’s happy. We’d never really go ahead with a song if one member wasn’t fully happy." Creating absolute bangers and remaining diplomatic? Fair play boys.
We also wanted to know if there's a band out there that Craig would join, you know, if The Academic didn't exist of course. Which would be tragic.
"That’s a really good question, I’ve never been asked that before. We have a band on tour with us as support called Inhaler."
"The reason I enjoyed that band is that it’s so nice watching them because they’re like us four years ago. I’d love to step back to where they are now, getting support slots, heading out and being brand new again. That would be fun. Or else Fleetwood Mac would be great."
If you're wondering what 2019 will bring for the boys, it's some exciting new shows and a return to the studio to nail down some of the material written on the road.
The band will be making a big return to Iveagh Gardens in July, one year on from their concert at the famous outdoor venue, with some brand new (as yet unrecorded) music.
"What I would say we’re really excited about at the moment, is that we haven’t had any studio time in about a year. We’ve been writing songs on the road but we haven’t gotten to play them at all."
In terms of their landmark moments, their most recent gigs remain their favourites;
"I’d have to say, I think we’re all pretty blown away by the weekend we’ve just had. Two Vicar Street gigs and a headliner in Limerick, it was three in a row and every night was brilliant. It got better every time. We’re all still on a high."
The Academic have made some incredible memories in 2018, but they're just getting started.
Sea Sessions Surf and Music Festival has managed to get EVEN BIGGER this year; already boasting Norwegian pop sensation Sigrid, Two Door Cinema Club and Clean Bandit as headliners.
The festival takes place in Donegal's Bundoran every year; a uniquely Irish haunt which has sold-out tickets weeks before the festival over the last four years.
Now they've added major names like Jax Jones, The Magician, Wild Youth, Hermitage Green, The Sugarhill Gang with Grandmaster Melle Mel & Scorpio, Le Boom, Jerry Fish, Bitch Falcon, Trojan Sound System, Kormac and Inhaler to the lineup.
He said: "We’re delighted with this year’s lineup and with our new additions. We think it is by far our strongest lineup yet! There’s something for everyone there, from Sigrid to The Sugarhill Gang, Two Door Cinema Club to Jax Jones and everything else in between."
"We’ve sold out the last 4 years so we expect this year to be no different. We’ve even got a surprise or two still left up our sleeves. We literally can’t wait until the summer."
Halloween is offish over so we can now talk about Christmas and New Years without sounded crazy, right?
Now in its seventh year, New Years Festival Dublin [NYF Dublin] is back again to help us ring in 2019 with three unreal events – a dazzling lighting spectacle called Liffey Lights Midnight Moment and 3Countdown Concert with amazing music acts that will give you a New Years Eve night to remember.
We can officially reveal that the headlining act is none other than the fab Gavin James.
Supporting acts are Hudson Taylor, Inhaler and Wild Youth.
Harry admits that NYE is generally a "divisive" night but one that him and his brother love, mainly because they go out busking.
Plus "its good to do the cheesy countdown thing."
We couldn't agree more.
Fresh from supporting Hozier, the Hudson Taylor lads might be gearing up for their own headline tour in the new year. So what better time to see them then to close out 2018?
To make it even better, their younger sister Halli will join them on stage and she herself has just released her first single, "Fukc Fear" so she is one to watch – exciting stuff.
Also playing will be Dublin four-piece Inhaler, who might be fresh from their Leaving Cert but they are more than ready to put on an amazing show.
So what should you expect from them?
"A lot of new songs. We only have two songs on Spotify and they came out like two years ago and our music's changed since then."
Their influences include a lot of 1980 's references – think Depeche Mode. While they've been playing together since 2016, 2019 looks set to be the year where they are gonna be releasing new music and a brand new single.
With amazing artists like these playing at NYF, you know where you gotta be on the 31st of December – see you there.
Tickets for NYF Dublin are 29.90 including booking fee and will be on sale from Monday November 5th qt 9am from Ticketmaster outlets nationwide and www.ticketmaster.ie.