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Deirdre -- a true Irish heroine

The selfless example of Deirdre Horan, who yesterday won the Munster Carer of the Year Award, should serve as an inspiration to us all in these difficult times.

As we report today, Deirdre, from Tralee, Co Kerry, cares for her 15-year-old daughter Rachel. The teenager suffers from Rett Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that requires constant care.

However, far from bemoaning her situation, Deirdre says that: "We have always looked after Rachel here and it has never been a burden. It was just part of our lives."

This is despite the fact that the family was struck by tragedy last October when Deirdre's husband and Rachel's father David died unexpectedly.

The mother of four will now go on to the national finals of the Carer of the Year Award in Dublin on Wednesday.

It is when one sees how such remarkable individuals as Deirdre surmount adversity and tragedy that the minor reversals which most of us encounter in the course of our everyday lives can be placed in their proper context. By comparison with Deirdre, most of us don't realise just how lucky we are. Instead of complaining about our lot we should learn from her brave example.

We salute Deirdre a genuine, modern Irish heroine -- a shining example to us all.