dXDublin Diabetes Blogger Conference - Part One

DxDublin 2018.jpg

DXDublin on July 13-15 was the biggest and most global dX yet. So proud! There were 30 bloggers from 14 countries and it was a bit like the Eurovision in a sense as we had representatives from Brazil and Canada too. See my disclaimer at the bottom.

I had intended to publish this post in the week following dXDublin but I had to catch up on three days of laundry, pack and go on holiday in two days. So needless to say it did not happen. My holiday was wonderful, thanks for asking ❤️

The “dX” events were created by Abbott Diabetes Care to facilitate the exchange of ideas within the diabetes blogger community hence, Diabetes Community Exchange or “dX”. This was the fourth European dX and my second, having been introduced to dX last year in Amsterdam (dXAmsterdam). I wrote about that experience here

I was beyond  excited when I got this Facebook message about a month before the event:

“Please tell me you have been invited to attend the DxDublin?”

OMG!! OMG! Twenty to thirty fellow diabetes bloggers are coming from all over Europe to see me! And I get to go to a blogger conference without going through an airport!!! 

The visual emblem of dXDublin was a Kaleidoscope - “Small changes to our own lives or to our wider community can have a significant and positive impact.” This is so true.


This dX was two very full days of workshops and presentations and, of course, exchanging ideas and stories with people living with type 1 diabetes from different countries. So as you can imagine I have a lot to write about and it’s difficult to know where to start and it's making for a very long post so I'm publishing it in two parts.


However, I won’t keep you in suspense about the Freestyle Libre Update. I’m really sorry if I, unintentionally, lead people to believe that this was an Irish Libre Reimbursement update - I really didn’t mean to. This is a company update from Abbott regarding increase in the supply of the Libre. 


If you haven’t already heard the ordering restrictions to existing Irish Freestyle Libre Self Funding (i.e. paying for your sensors out of your own pocket and not funded through the HSE) customers have been eased this month. You can now order 3 sensors per 25 days. 


New customers who registered on the waiting list are now being processed and should be receiving notification as we speak that they can order their sensors. 

New customers do not have to buy the scanner device as the Freestyle Libre App LibreLink was launched in Ireland for use on smartphones last February and you can scan the sensor with your phone instead of the scanner/reader. 

If you haven't registered to buy the Freestyle Libre and are now considering it, click on this .


If you do self fund your device you can claim a VAT refund AND an Income Tax Refund for your CGM.


Claim your VAT refund of 23% back from the cost of your Flash/Continuous Glucose Monitor through the “reclaim VAT on aids and appliances for disabled persons” scheme, as diabetes is legally recognised as a disability in order to be included on the Long Term Illness scheme.

This is the link to find out how to claim.



Claiming your income tax refund of 20% through the Revenue’s MED1 form or online. Find out more here.

*** It’s also worth noting that the Freestyle Libre is suitable for people who are visually impaired, when used with the LibreLink App is an alternative to finger stick blood glucose checking as you can turn on the voice feature on your smartphone to tell you what the reading is. Up until now people who are visually impaired had only one glucose meter option in Ireland. 

Jared Watkin, Senior VP, Abbott Diabetes Care, Stephen Dixon,  Sky News , and Scott House Divisional VP Worldwide Operations, Abbott Diabetes Care

Jared Watkin, Senior VP, Abbott Diabetes Care, Stephen Dixon, Sky News, and Scott House Divisional VP Worldwide Operations, Abbott Diabetes Care


Two factories in Ireland are responsible for manufacturing the global supply of Libre sensors. West Manufacturing in Blanchardstown, Dublin, which was officially opened in 2016 has only reached full manufacturing capacity last month. Another factory in Donegal is close to completion.  This will improve sensor supply hugely in the coming weeks and months.

Each Libre factory has to be built from scratch and All the machines have to be built specifically. 

In 2015, the Freestyle Libre was available in 3 countries, in 2016, it was available in 22 countries, in 2017 the Libre is available in 42 countries. That is massive growth - approximately 50,000 new users per month before the supply restrictions were put in place and there are currently 800,000 users worldwide. 


As I sat in the room listening to the story of how the idea for the Libre journeyed from being a twinkle in an eye to how it’s now creating jobs in Ireland, I thought about the irony of most of the Irish diabetes population not having access to the Libre and how I, the only Irish diabetes consumer representative in the room, happened to be from the constituency of the current Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection. Double irony!!

I also thought about how we are probably the only country in the world who can advocate for more access to the Libre, not only on how it will save money for the Health service HSE, but also that we are creating more Irish jobs and create more revenue for the government. Already last week it was announced that Abbott plans to create 500 new jobs in Donegal as it expands this manufacturing facility there.

Keep sending those emails to your local TD's asking when the age restriction will be removed from the Freestyle Libre Reimbursement scheme to make sure that this issue doesn't fade away.

dXDublin Diabetes Blogger Conference - Part Two coming soon

Disclaimer Abbott Diabetes Care paid for my accommodation, travel expenses and meals for the DxDublin event but did not ask me to blog about the event. All opinions are my own.