Pauline McLynn urges the public to Act F.A.S.T.

By June Shannon Stroke News   |   7th Feb 2023

Actress Pauline McLynn joins the Irish Heart Foundation to help spread the F.A.S.T. message.  

Actress Pauline McLynn has told how losing both of her parents to stroke inspired her to help increase awareness about its warning signs.

She said that it had also led to her embrace sea swimming and aqua-aerobics as she becomes more health conscious.

The star, iconic for her role as tea-obsessed housekeeper Mrs Doyle in Father Ted, lost her mum Sheila, 86, last October,17 years after a stroke also claimed the life of her 69-year-old father, Padraig.

“I expect it might be written in the stars somewhere for me and it’s simply because my parents have gone that way that I want to highlight it so that people are aware,” she said.

Pauline, is supporting the Irish Heart Foundation’s ‘Act F.A.S.T. – Minutes Matter’ campaign to drive greater awareness of the warning signs of stroke: facial drooping, arm weakness, slurred speech and the crucial importance of time.

“The F.A.S.T. message is simple, and I’d like to think if my name is on one (stroke) that there will be someone close by who will know what to do,” she said at a photocall in Dublin Castle today (Tuesday 07 February, 2023).

“It is just reminding people to think that way if they have any suspicions, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and time is the one to remember,” she said.

The star lost her mum Sheila, 86, last October,17 years after a stroke also claimed the life of her father, Padraig.


New data released last week showed an alarming decline in the number of stroke patients getting to hospital in time to receive potentially lifesaving clot-busting treatment in Ireland. Only 46 per cent of stroke patients arrive at hospital within the recommended three-to-hour window, even though quick action can mean the difference between recovery and permanent severe disability or even death.

Recalling the sudden death of her father in 2005, Pauline said, “He was at work in Mayo having his lunch one day and had a massive stroke. He ended up in Castlebar Hospital and 10 days later, he died

“His (brain) electrics went, but physically, he had a great rest and looked fabulous. He just had one of those devastating strokes from which there was no coming back. He would have been thrilled with that, he didn’t want to grow old and he didn’t like old people!”

“Sadly, my mum, who had a number of other things wrong with her and was in Galway hospital (UHG), also had a massive stroke. But despite losing two parents to it, it doesn’t make me feel there’s no hope – the quicker someone can be treated, the better the prognosis.

“It’s amazing the amount of people who have had strokes – and a number of people I know survived them,” she added.

" The quicker someone can be treated, the better the prognosis."

Pauline McLynn, actress and author

The Galway-raised former EastEnders and Shameless star is in Kilkenny this month as filming continues on a new murder mystery series for Channel 5 in the UK.

She remembered her parents as “super, lively and mischievous”, never standing in the way of her acting ambitions.

“We were brought on holidays every year to the seaside, picnics at the weekend, and we were never discouraged from doing anything. I drifted into drama and acting, and they never once took me to one side; they were very open-minded.”

Although she despises New Year resolutions, Pauline has promised herself a “full MOT” –  and has joined a gym near her home in Dublin’s Phibsboro, where she enjoys aqua-aerobics several times a week.

“I am starting to look after myself a little more; I’m a bit fitter now. One of the things I learned after becoming involved in the stroke campaign is that there is such hope; the quicker you deal with it, the better your chances of survival,” she said.

Learn more about the F.A.S.T. campaign here.


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act F.A.S.T. emergency FAST stroke stroke awareness

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