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Frustration Voiced With Regard To Mid-West Health Care Issues

Tipperary people being foolishly identified as brainless imbeciles by this Fine Gael government.
Fine Gael TD Mr Simon Harris (Minister for Apologies, Promises and Health Care, since May 2016.)

We reported on Tuesday last July 9th that seventy patients lay on surf board type trolleys at University Hospital Limerick (UHL), with a total of 456 patients lodged in similar conditions across the 26 counties of Ireland. A further 26 patients remained on trolleys at South Tipperary General Hospital, leaving a total of 96 patients or almost one quarter of the national patient count, waiting for a bed in just Co. Tipperary alone.

On the following day, Wednesday July 10th, last, University Hospital Limerick serving North Tipperary issued a statement through the UL Hospitals Group. They declared that 232 patients had attended their emergency department between 8:00am July 9th and 8:00am July 10th. They further advised people to avoid their medical facility, urging members of the public to consider attending injury clinics at St. John’s Hospital [Opening Hours 8:00am – 6:00pm]; at Ennis Hospital [Opening Hours 8:00am – 8:00pm]; and Nenagh General Hospital [Opening Hours 8:00am – 8:00pm]. They failed to state where patients should attend in the case of night time accidents or other emergencies?

We hasten to point out that these figures above stated can be viewed online and are confirmed by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).

Following last Monday’s meeting of Clare County Council, a joint motion from councillors attending, called on the Minister for Health Mr Simon Harris to make an ‘unannounced visit’ to Limerick hospital and then to immediately begin the process required to reopen the Accident & Emergency units at St. John’s Hospital (Co. Limerick), Ennis Hospital (Co. Clare) and Nenagh General Hospital (Co. Tipperary), and furthermore to upgrade Ennis Hospital to the status of a Model 3 hospital.

They also called for a meeting to be held with Mr Harris, inviting TDs from Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary, together with Co. Councillors from the same stated areas. Their hope is to discuss the future of the health service within the UL Hospitals group.

Independent Cllr. Ms Anne Norton of Clare Co. Council claimed that previous visits by the Minister to UHL, saw trolleys hidden away and out of sight around the hospital. Cllr Norton also claimed that numbers on trolleys should be dropping during summer months, adding she believed we are experiencing the worst health crisis ever, across Ireland.

Independent Cllr. Mr Ian Lynch and Fianna Fáil Cllr. Mr Cillian Murphy expressed the view that the UHL model has completely failed, with patients feeling at risk being sent there and with none of the plans discussed being put in place. Cllr. Murphy pointed out that the current population for Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary was 400,070 and projections indicated some 18% of future growth. Keeping these figures in mind, he stated our health service is only going to further deteriorate.

Are Tipperary Co. Council totally asleep on their feet?

It would appear that those who attended at our own last Tipperary Co. Council meeting, had not heard of the ongoing problems being experienced at University Hospital Limerick or had forgotten to properly adjust their monthly secret agenda.

Still when you vote at local elections for “more of the same”, what do you get? Answer:- “more of the same.”

Meanwhile our Dáil adjourned officially on Friday last, July 12th, with no further business scheduled for discussion until the resumption of business on Wednesday, September 20th next.

Of the 158 members of our national parliament only one Minister and three opposition TDs remained within the portals of the Dáil (soon to be refurbished at a cost of €17 million), for the final debate, before the Ceann Comhairle, Mr Seán Ó Fearghaíl, wished those not present a joyful, happy and relaxing holiday.

Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s electronic key fob machine in Leinster House, like the CCTV system in Thurles, obviously no longer appears to be functioning.


Planning For Semple’s Field In Thurles Placed On Hold

Tipperary County Council have decided to seek further planning information regarding a new multi-million Euro plan to transform the Kinane Stand at Semple Stadium, Thurles. Same is required by the council before granting their consent to planning proposals to an area, possibly better known as ‘The Old Stand’.

It had been expected that the council’s final decision would have been made known today, but further confirmation is now being sought on this proposal, through Wilson Architecture, Cork; latter commissioned to put together the initial planning application.

The Kinane Stand (Old Stand) area, with an existing holding capacity for some 14,500 sports fans, was last upgraded 12 years ago as part of a then major refurbishment project; same undertaken at a cost understood to have been in the region of €18 million.

Under this new planing application it was envisaged that an extra floor could be built to include the installation of changing rooms; a gym; physiotherapy space; a kitchen; stores; media rooms and a welcoming area.

These plans, initially lodged last April, involved the reconfiguration of the present ground floor seating area; including turnstiles; the construction of a new exit gate, together with three service hubs, latter providing access for wheelchair-accessible turnstiles to the upper floor area.


200-300 Further Post Offices In Danger Of Closure

The Fine Gael general election hopeful for Tipperary, Mrs Mary Newman Julian, who with others, has cast serious doubts over the An Post’s agreement with Thurles Shopping Centre, may now wish to “hold her whisht a minute”, regarding this same semi-state body.

The Irish Postmasters Union, speaking ahead of their annual conference in Portlaoise yesterday, warned that between 200 and 300 currently operating post offices could be forced to close over the next 18 months, unless they are granted access to named government services, by our current Fine Gael led government.

The Irish Postmasters Union state that while An Post have introduced a range of new services like credit cards and loans etc., a deal agreed with the present Fine Gael led government last year, to provide for the introduction of services, (e.g. car tax, drivers’ licenses and Leap cards etc); same, though agreed, has not as yet materialised and no progress to date has been made. IPU General Secretary Mr Ned O’Hara now believes this same issue could further lead to hundreds of post offices having to shut up shop.

An Post further has advised that their newly acquired Thurles office in Thurles Shopping Centre, will be in line with the company’s transformation programme, offering a new look retail offering for customers including a move away from the old-style post office counter layout; the inclusion of dedicated customer areas, parcel lockers and self-service options.

While, recently 800 to 1,000 local people and business owners took to the streets of Thurles to protest against this office move by An Post; yesterday’s news from the Irish Postmasters Union does not bode well for the longer-term future of Irish post offices in rural Ireland.

This threatened situation, is further adding to the fact that jobless figures appearing on the Live Register for Tipperary, during April 2019, shows increased unemployment on the previous month’s returns, March 2019, across 7 of the 8 Social Welfare offices. Employees earning salaries in the €25 to €30 thousand range; commuting to work from Tipperary; same unable to afford even basic accommodation in Dublin, are now fed up of paying the demanded 20 Euro toll charges; not to mention the 100 Euro per week in fuel costs; not to mention vehicle costs etc., all necessary to maintain and hold down a job, if you reside in rural Ireland.

It appears that under our present Fine Gael led government; here in rural Ireland, gone are the days when, “A part of everything you earn is yours to keep”.


Richard Bruton Launches Fund For Circular Economy Innovators.

€600,000 available under the EPA’s National Waste Prevention Programme EPA043339

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton T.D. today launched a €600,000 funding opportunity for novel approaches to promote the circular economy, maximise resource efficiency and reduce waste.

It will fund innovators to develop and demonstrate business-ready solutions in the circular economy for consumers and for commercial clients. This funding call is a key part of Ireland’s National Waste Prevention Programme, which is led by the EPA.

Minister Mr Richard Bruton said; “Transition to a low carbon circular economy will disrupt traditional business models and create new enterprise opportunities. This fund is an excellent opportunity for early movers to seize these opportunities and lead the way. Ireland uses over 100 million tonnes of materials annually, and too much of the waste from this often ends up in landfill or an incinerator after only a short period of use. This funding initiative provides a bridge to commercial, transferable and scalable solutions that will deliver a circular and low carbon economy in Ireland.”

Applications are invited in areas of national importance such as Food Waste Prevention; Construction & Demolition and Plastics. These are key priorities nationally which require innovative thinking and solutions and are also priorities of the EU’s Circular Economy Package.

Ms Laura Burke, Director General of the EPA said; “The EPA’s National Waste Prevention Programme supports behavioural change and sustainable choices through targeted funding programmes and sharing best practices. Inefficient consumption and missed opportunities for reuse & recycling leads to more waste and higher greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA is pleased to support smart management of materials to keep them in use longer which reduces demand for raw materials and protects the environment. This is the win-win opportunity presented by the circular economy.”

The National Waste Prevention Programme offers opportunities for innovation funding, networking and partnering. The EPA is planning new strategic programmes with high visibility and influence and is keen to work with other organisations, public bodies and networks in the areas of industry & enterprise, product design and research & innovation.

Further information on the National Waste Prevention Programme and the funding call – Green Enterprise – Innovation for a Circular Economy is available on the EPA website.


Suitable Doorstep Discourse For Campaigning Thurles Councillors

“A country which prefers guns to flowers will live the beauty of the flowers only in its graveyards!” – Quote by Turkish author Mehmet Murat ildan.

Tipperary County Council under the leadership of Mr Joe MacGrath (Chief Executive), through its Community and Economic Development Section, maintain they continually strive to provide a place where its people can enjoy a ‘great quality of life’, ‘Fairness’, ‘Co-Operation’, ‘Communication’, ‘Teamwork’, ‘Partnership’ and ‘Collaboration’.

Health & Safety Ignored

But, when the local residents sought a little financial funding to improve a set of steps leading up into the Moyne Road / Bellevue Housing Estate on a long established ‘right of way’, District Director Mr Matt Shortt (Director of Services, Director of Roads, Transportation and Health and Safety, for the Templemore / Thurles Municipal Council.) had other notions and made a decision to block all future access via this right of way, proving, not for the first time, that ‘verbal agreements are not worth the paper they are written on‘.

Fearful for pedestrians rushing out onto the nearby roadway, Mr Shortt sanctioned the building of a wall across the residents right of way, ignoring the fact that briar’s and uncontrolled, hanging, ivy (see Video) currently remain, forcing pedestrians unto a nearby stretch of road with no footpath. So much for Health & Safety.

Fifty-Eight Years Crying Out For A Coat Of Paint.

The costs of a double grave site in St. Patrick’s cemetery, together with the opening of a grave, especially on weekends, and later the granting of a ‘planning permit’ to erect your headstone (latter permit currently costing €90.00), sees little change out of €2,000.00, when loved one’s finish tidying their grave site.

Most especially in Spring, Summer and Autumn, you will find more footfall in St. Patrick’s cemetery of an evening, than in Liberty Square, Thurles. Grave sites are meticulously maintained by family and friends, through the introduction of floral arrangements, shrubs and planted containers.

So, the very least one would expect to see, is a can of paint being splashed about on entry gates and on existing seating, courtesy of Tipperary Co. Council, to justify their annual revenues collected. Here again is ample evidence of money wasting by Tipperary County Council. Several thousand Euro in payments for new gates will now have to be found, purely because rusty iron work has not been painted since 1961, well over half a century ago (58 Years).

Of course, this will result in grave prices increasing in the future and as usual in their annual accounts a JCB will be claimed in full, showing financial losses of €120,000. Note, Tipperary County Council’s digger works daily everywhere in the Templemore / Thurles Municipal District and is not any more solely for use in St. Patrick’s Cemetery, or indeed was it ever.

This also begs the question; how can they use a digger in the centre of the graveyard? Most grave kerbs are less than 5cm (2ins – See Video) apart, with no access to transport any digger between the gravestones.

Note also, the last person to sweep outside of St. Patrick’s Cemetery gates, in the last 58 years, was the wind.

Currently, weather is eroding earthen banks unto walkways. Wreaths from graves are being dumped in the open, as are the mounds of loose earth, rocks and abandoned path edging kerb stones.

Here is where we should be planting vast swathes of wild flowers, on vast vacant land, instead of wasting money in weekly grass cutting.

It remains a source of great wonder, that politicians and elected councillors, all who have attended funerals in St Patrick’s Cemetery, over the past 40 years; have failed to notice this unforgivable neglect by Tipperary environmental officialdom, turning our graveyard into a place for the disposal of waste; turning it into no better than a common dump.