Tuesday 16 January 2018

TD returns to fray after cancer fight

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

FIANNA Fail TD Sean Ardagh is returning to work in the Dail next week, after winning a six-month battle with cancer.

Mr Ardagh told the Irish Independent yesterday he has recovered fully from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma -- a cancer of white blood cells.

The well-regarded backbencher had chemotherapy and stem-cell transplants after a recurrence of an illness he first suffered eight years ago.

"I'm feeling good and looking forward to getting back into the fray. I'll listen to the debate (on the economy) now and go from there," he added.

The Dublin South-Central TD began months of heavy chemotherapy treatment at St James Hospital in May, followed by a transplant of stem-cells, which were removed from his body and frozen during the previous treatment.

The non-invasive surgery sees stem cells in the bone marrow killed by the chemotherapy and then replaced in the transplant.

Earlier this month, former GAA star and journalist Liam Hayes revealed he was undergoing treatment for the same type of cancer.

Mr Ardagh said he planned to run in the next General Election now he was back to full fitness and said he was extremely thankful to colleagues from across all the parties who sent him their best wishes over the summer. He was also particularly grateful to Fine Gael chief whip Paul Kehoe for granting him pairs to allow him to be absent from Dail votes while he was recovering.

Mr Ardagh said he wouldn't have been able to recover without the help of his family.

"You have to have a positive mental attitude," he said.

Fine Gael TD Jim O'Keeffe revealed Mr Ardagh's return to good health yesterday as he announced details of a review of the power of the Dail to conduct inquiries.

"It is fantastic news. He came through a difficult period," Mr O'Keeffe said.

Irish Independent

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