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Schmidt on 'dad duty' as he plans to travel abroad with sick son (11)

He led his troops to Six Nations victory - and now Ireland manager Joe Schmidt has revealed that he is focusing on a very different campaign.

The New Zealander and his wife Kellie are to travel abroad to seek treatment for their son, Luke (11), who suffered a brain tumour at the age of four and was subsequently diagnosed with epilepsy.

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22/03/2015
Jamie Heaslip & Rob Kearney with Irish fan Charlie Hassett 3 months from Tipperary after the Irish Rugby side  arrived  at Dublin Airport following their 6 Nations Championship win 
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

22/03/2015 Jamie Heaslip & Rob Kearney with Irish fan Charlie Hassett 3 months from Tipperary after the Irish Rugby side arrived at Dublin Airport following their 6 Nations Championship win Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

22/03/2015
Jamie Heaslip with Irish fan Charlie Hassett 3 months from Tipperary after the Irish Rugby side  arrived  at Dublin Airport following their 6 Nations Championship win 
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

22/03/2015 Jamie Heaslip with Irish fan Charlie Hassett 3 months from Tipperary after the Irish Rugby side arrived at Dublin Airport following their 6 Nations Championship win Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

22/03/2015
Jamie Heaslip with Irish fan Aidan Shanagher 4 from Dundrum after the Irish Rugby side  arrived  at Dublin Airport following their 6 Nations Championship win 
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

22/03/2015 Jamie Heaslip with Irish fan Aidan Shanagher 4 from Dundrum after the Irish Rugby side arrived at Dublin Airport following their 6 Nations Championship win Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

22/03/2015
Paul O' Connell with Irish fans after the Irish Rugby side  arrived  at Dublin Airport following their 6 Nations Championship win 
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

22/03/2015 Paul O' Connell with Irish fans after the Irish Rugby side arrived at Dublin Airport following their 6 Nations Championship win Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

22/03/2015
Jamie Heaslip with Irish fans after the Irish Rugby side  arrived  at Dublin Airport following their 6 Nations Championship win 
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

22/03/2015 Jamie Heaslip with Irish fans after the Irish Rugby side arrived at Dublin Airport following their 6 Nations Championship win Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

22/03/2015
Jamie Heaslip with Irish fan Charlie Hassett 3 months from Tipperary after the Irish Rugby side  arrived  at Dublin Airport following their 6 Nations Championship win 
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

22/03/2015 Jamie Heaslip with Irish fan Charlie Hassett 3 months from Tipperary after the Irish Rugby side arrived at Dublin Airport following their 6 Nations Championship win Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

22/03/2015
Jamie Heaslip with Irish fans Michael Reehill 4 from Dublin & Aaron Redfern 6 from Limerick after the Irish Rugby side  arrived  at Dublin Airport following their 6 Nations Championship win 
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

22/03/2015 Jamie Heaslip with Irish fans Michael Reehill 4 from Dublin & Aaron Redfern 6 from Limerick after the Irish Rugby side arrived at Dublin Airport following their 6 Nations Championship win Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

22 March 2015; Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt  is pictured on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport after beating Scotland to win the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

22 March 2015; Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt is pictured on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport after beating Scotland to win the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

22/03/2015
Jamie Heaslip with Irish fans Michael Reehill 4 from Dublin & Aaron Redfern 6 from Limerick after the Irish Rugby side  arrived  at Dublin Airport following their 6 Nations Championship win 
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

22/03/2015 Jamie Heaslip with Irish fans Michael Reehill 4 from Dublin & Aaron Redfern 6 from Limerick after the Irish Rugby side arrived at Dublin Airport following their 6 Nations Championship win Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

22/03/2015
Cian Healy & Paul O' Connell with Irish fans after the Irish Rugby side  arrived  at Dublin Airport following their 6 Nations Championship win 
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

22/03/2015 Cian Healy & Paul O' Connell with Irish fans after the Irish Rugby side arrived at Dublin Airport following their 6 Nations Championship win Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

22 March 2015; Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt signs autographs for supporters on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport after beating Scotland to win the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

22 March 2015; Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt signs autographs for supporters on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport after beating Scotland to win the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

22 March 2015; The Ireland team bus is cheered by supporters on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport after beating Scotland to win the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

22 March 2015; The Ireland team bus is cheered by supporters on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport after beating Scotland to win the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

22 March 2015; Ireland captain Paul O'Connell leads the team into the arrivals hall on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport after beating Scotland to win the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

22 March 2015; Ireland captain Paul O'Connell leads the team into the arrivals hall on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport after beating Scotland to win the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

22/03/2015
Irish fans with the 6 nations trophy after the Irish Rugby side  arrived  at Dublin Airport following their 6 Nations Championship win 
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

22/03/2015 Irish fans with the 6 nations trophy after the Irish Rugby side arrived at Dublin Airport following their 6 Nations Championship win Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

22 March 2015; Ireland captain Paul O'Connell and Jonathan Sexton share a joke on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport after beating Scotland to win the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

22 March 2015; Ireland captain Paul O'Connell and Jonathan Sexton share a joke on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport after beating Scotland to win the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

22/03/2015
Fans (L to r) Ruth Fitzgerald from Waterford & Ciara Pykett from Swords during the homecoming of 6 Nations Rugby champions Ireland at Dublin Airport.
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

22/03/2015 Fans (L to r) Ruth Fitzgerald from Waterford & Ciara Pykett from Swords during the homecoming of 6 Nations Rugby champions Ireland at Dublin Airport. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

22 March 2015; Ireland captain Paul O'Connell and Jonathan Sexton share a joke on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport after beating Scotland to win the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

22 March 2015; Ireland captain Paul O'Connell and Jonathan Sexton share a joke on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport after beating Scotland to win the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

22/03/2015
Jamie Heaslip & Cian Healy with Irish fans after the Irish Rugby side  arrived  at Dublin Airport following their 6 Nations Championship win 
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

22/03/2015 Jamie Heaslip & Cian Healy with Irish fans after the Irish Rugby side arrived at Dublin Airport following their 6 Nations Championship win Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

22 March 2015; Ireland's Peter O'Mahony takes a selfie with supporters on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport after beating Scotland to win the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

22 March 2015; Ireland's Peter O'Mahony takes a selfie with supporters on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport after beating Scotland to win the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

22/03/2015
Paul O' Connell with Irish fans after the Irish Rugby side  arrived  at Dublin Airport following their 6 Nations Championship win 
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

22/03/2015 Paul O' Connell with Irish fans after the Irish Rugby side arrived at Dublin Airport following their 6 Nations Championship win Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

22 March 2015; Ireland's Cian Healy and Sean O'Brien sign autographs for supporters on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport after beating Scotland to win the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

22 March 2015; Ireland's Cian Healy and Sean O'Brien sign autographs for supporters on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport after beating Scotland to win the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

22/03/2015
Sean O Brien  with Irish fan Jane O Rourke 7 from Castleknock after the Irish Rugby side  arrived  at Dublin Airport following their 6 Nations Championship win 
Photo:  Gareth Chaney Collins

22/03/2015 Sean O Brien with Irish fan Jane O Rourke 7 from Castleknock after the Irish Rugby side arrived at Dublin Airport following their 6 Nations Championship win Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

22 March 2015; Ireland supporters await the team's arrival at Dublin Airport after beating Scotland to win the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

22 March 2015; Ireland supporters await the team's arrival at Dublin Airport after beating Scotland to win the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

22 March 2015; Ireland captain Paul O'Connell and Jonathan Sexton share a joke on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport after beating Scotland to win the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

22 March 2015; Ireland captain Paul O'Connell and Jonathan Sexton share a joke on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport after beating Scotland to win the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

Paul O'Connell, Tommy Bowe, and Rob Kearney on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Paul O'Connell, Tommy Bowe, and Rob Kearney on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

Paul O'Connell, Tommy Bowe, Rob Kearney and Luke Fitzgerald are pictured on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Paul O'Connell, Tommy Bowe, Rob Kearney and Luke Fitzgerald are pictured on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

Paul O'Connell and Jonathan Sexton share a joke on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Paul O'Connell and Jonathan Sexton share a joke on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

Ireland supporters await the team's arrival at Dublin Airport. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Ireland supporters await the team's arrival at Dublin Airport. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt at Dublin Airport. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt at Dublin Airport. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

Cian Healy and Sean O'Brien sign autographs. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Cian Healy and Sean O'Brien sign autographs. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

Peter O'Mahony takes a selfie with supporters. Photo. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Peter O'Mahony takes a selfie with supporters. Photo. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

Jonathan Sexton signs autographs for supporters at Dublin Airport. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Jonathan Sexton signs autographs for supporters at Dublin Airport. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

 Ireland supporters await the team's arrival at Dublin Airport. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Ireland supporters await the team's arrival at Dublin Airport. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

22 March 2015; The RBS Six Nations Championship trophy is passed around by Ireland supporters at the Ireland rugby squad homecoming. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

22 March 2015; The RBS Six Nations Championship trophy is passed around by Ireland supporters at the Ireland rugby squad homecoming. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

 Jamie Heaslip poses for a photograph with students from Newbridge College, Co. Kildare, at the Ireland rugby squad homecoming.

Jamie Heaslip poses for a photograph with students from Newbridge College, Co. Kildare, at the Ireland rugby squad homecoming.

SPORTSFILE

22 March 2015; Eimear McEnroe, from Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan, takes a photo with Jonathan Sexton after the Ireland team's arrival at Dublin Airport after beating Scotland to win the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

22 March 2015; Eimear McEnroe, from Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan, takes a photo with Jonathan Sexton after the Ireland team's arrival at Dublin Airport after beating Scotland to win the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

22 March 2015; Ireland captain Paul O'Connell is pictured with supporter Aidan Shanagher, Dundrum, Dublin, upon the team's arrival at Dublin Airport after beating Scotland to win the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

22 March 2015; Ireland captain Paul O'Connell is pictured with supporter Aidan Shanagher, Dundrum, Dublin, upon the team's arrival at Dublin Airport after beating Scotland to win the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

22 March 2015; Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt poses with supporter Ciara McAteer upon the team's arrival at Dublin Airport after beating Scotland to win the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

22 March 2015; Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt poses with supporter Ciara McAteer upon the team's arrival at Dublin Airport after beating Scotland to win the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

22 March 2015; Ireland's Jamie Heaslip is pictured on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport with Aaron Redfern and Michael Freehill, Dublin, after wining the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

22 March 2015; Ireland's Jamie Heaslip is pictured on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport with Aaron Redfern and Michael Freehill, Dublin, after wining the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

22 March 2015; Ireland's Jonathan Sexton is pictured on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport with Patrick Greville, Clontarf, Dublin, after wining the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

22 March 2015; Ireland's Jonathan Sexton is pictured on the team's arrival at Dublin Airport with Patrick Greville, Clontarf, Dublin, after wining the RBS Six Nations Championship. Dublin Airport, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

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22/03/2015 Jamie Heaslip & Rob Kearney with Irish fan Charlie Hassett 3 months from Tipperary after the Irish Rugby side arrived at Dublin Airport following their 6 Nations Championship win Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

The Ireland coach has spoken publicly on numerous occasions to raise awareness of epilepsy, recently supporting the Be Seizure Aware Campaign.

He told the 'Sunday with Miriam' radio show that he "could not speak highly enough" of the people who have contributed to Luke's care since the family have been in Ireland.

"But at this stage we've been encouraged to visit someone and to try and get a fresh perspective on whether there's anything that can be done surgically," he said.

He explained that the couple have tried to be "reasonably open" about their situation and plans in order to support "the epilepsy people who have supported us".

And he said he hoped that by coming out it would give people with epilepsy "a little bit of confidence that there are a number of people in similar circumstances who are trying to find the best solution that they can". The Schmidt family will fly out tomorrow to see specialists.

And while winning the tournament has been "a massive boost", the Ireland boss said "the reality for me is that I'm on dad duty".

"So I'll park the rugby for a little while and we'll see if we can get really lucky on both sides of what's important to us, and then we'll look towards the World Cup towards the end of April," he said.

Irish Independent