It is not something that many could claim but Aontú leader and Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín had a life changing, indeed life saving experience when he bent down to tie his laces!

He has told the Irish Times about it, revealing how he had a lucky escape with skin cancer on his scalp after it was discovered by his brother when he bent down to tie his shoelaces at a family picnic last year, during one of the breaks in Covid lockdowns.

The Aontú leader had dismissed the growth as a scratch late last year and had put off going to his GP during lockdown.

However, Mr Tóibín is still being closely monitored by doctors after the removal of a borderline stage three cancerous tumour from his scalp earlier this year, which was spotted by his brother, Des Tobin, the director of the UCD Charles Institute of Dermatology.

Now Mr Tóibín is being checked closely every three months to ensure the cancer has not spread. He said the diagnosis had led to a lot of sleepless nights.

“I found a small lump, the size of a fingernail on my scalp around Christmas .

“I do a bit of gardening in my spare time, so I wasn’t sure if it was just a scrape that wasn’t healing. I had been meaning to get it checked out over the lockdown, but like so many others I had the feeling that doctors’ appointments were hard to get.

“My brother Des is a skin research scientist, but because of the lockdown I hadn’t seen him in about four months. We finally had him over for a bite to eat and when he noticed the growth, he took a picture and urged me to send it to my GP straight away.

“People need to be aware that they should exercise caution in how they cope with the sun”