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University Hospital Limerick, Serving Co. Tipperary, Most Overcrowded In November 2022.

Irish hospitals have recorded their worst November ever in 2022, with regards overcrowding, according to latest figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).

Over 12,624 people were unable to access a bed in Irish hospitals in November, with over 563 children left resting on trolleys.

As Tipperary politicians wander about aimlessly, making no effort to demonstrate leadership; the most overcrowded hospital in the Irish Republic was University Hospital Limerick, latter supposed to be serving North Co. Tipperary, with some 1596 patients without a bed over the 30 day period.

In second place was Cork University Hospital with 1334 patients; followed by Letterkenny University Hospital with 1108 patients; Sligo University Hospital with 783 patients and Galway University Hospital with 703 patients.

Meanwhile, the Minor Injury Unit in Nenagh, North Co. Tipperary was closed today, due to unclarified staffing issues. Patients in need of assistance were being asked to travel to Ennis hospital (119km [74mls] or 1hr 30min drive subject to traffic) or to St. John’s acute General Voluntary Hospital located in Limerick City, (some 110km [69mls] or 1hr 15min drive, subject to traffic).

This situation is no longer acceptable or indeed supportable in 21st century rural Ireland.

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Tipperary Resident Awarded €35,000 Following Pavement Fall.

A plaintiff, named as Mr Jason McCarthy, with an address at Ballybeg, Littleton, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, has successfully sued Waterford City Council, having alleged negligence; a breach of Duty of Care and a breach of the Occupiers Liability Act 1995.

Mr McCarthy, who acknowledged in court that he had previously recovered compensation of €17,555 from a road traffic accident in 2003; a further €12,000 for a road accident in 2009 and €15,000 arising from an assault when he was a young boy, [in total €44,550], was awarded €30,000 together with his legal costs, latter calculated on the lower Circuit Court scale.

Mr Justice Tony O’Connor stated he was satisfied that Mr McCarthy did trip and fall, as he had claimed, over a protruding lip on the pavement outside his father-in-law’s home at Gracedieu Road, Waterford City, on February 1st, some 7 years ago in 2015; adding that the injuries did not impinge significantly on his current day-to-day interests.

Waterford City Council authority had asked the court to determine if the fall happened as was alleged by Mr McCarthy; if it occurred where alleged, or if such a fall had caused such injuries currently being claimed by the plaintiff.

Mr Justice O’Connor said the council did accept during the hearing that the pavement lip was caused as a direct result of poor compaction at its sub base, and that if an inspection had been undertaken previously, same lip would have been noted and necessary measures taken to repair it.

Mr O’Connor had attended hospital the following morning after the fall and a medical report stated he had fractured his wrist, which required fixation with a grafting procedure.

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Risks To Public Health In Private Drinking Water Supplies Not Being Tackled.

  • One in 20 private water supplies failed to meet the standard for E. coli, compared to 1 in 200 for public water supplies. 
  • Local authorities are not monitoring over a quarter of small private supplies for E. coli .
  • More than 60% of government funding available to deal with water quality failures went unused by suppliers. 

The EPA yesterday released the Drinking Water Quality in Private Group Schemes and Small Private Supplies 2021.  

Drinking water is provided by over 380 group water schemes to approximately 200,000 people across rural communities in Ireland.

Additionally, over 1,700 small private supplies (premises like hotels, pubs and restaurants, crèches, nursing homes and national schools) provide water to approximately 60,000 staff, customers and service users on a daily basis.
  
Meeting E.coli standards is a basic requirement in the provision of safe drinking water. In 2021, one in twenty private supplies were found to have E. coli contamination, indicating that the water supply has not been properly disinfected.
The failure of these disinfection systems put the health of approximately 6,000 people, that use these drinking water supplies throughout the country, at risk. 

In addition, twenty-one private group schemes (7%) failed to meet the standard for THMs, including five schemes that the European Commission has identified as being of particular concern.
Trihalomethanes (THM) are a by-product of the treatment process and are formed where there is an excess of organic matter in the water source.

Commenting on the findings of the report, Dr Tom Ryan, Director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said:  “Compliance with drinking water standards in private supplies for E.coli and THMs hasn’t improved in recent years. It is essential that works to improve water quality are carried out as soon as possible to eliminate serious risks to people’s health. Private water suppliers are obliged to make sure their drinking water is clean and wholesome for consumers. Local authorities must investigate supplies that fail to meet drinking water quality standards and, where necessary, follow up with enforcement action to protect public health.”
Funding is available to group water schemes and household well owners for improvements to their supplies through the Multi-Annual Rural Water Programme (MARWP).

During the 2019-2021 MARWP funding cycle over 60% (€36 million) of funding available for infrastructural improvements went unused by water suppliers. 

Mr Noel Byrne, Programme Manager of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said:  “Water quality in private supplies consistently lags behind public water quality. It is disappointing to see that €36million of funding was not used by suppliers to address infrastructural needs at problematic private supplies. The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage needs to complete its review of rural drinking water services, with the purpose of providing direction and support to water suppliers and to eliminate public health risks.”

During 2021, over a quarter of small private supplies, serving food businesses, nursing homes, crèches and B&Bs were not monitored. In addition, although there are 1,700 small private supplies registered with local authorities there may be many more that are unregistered. If a supply isn’t registered and hasn’t been monitored, there is no information on the quality of the drinking water provided to consumers.

Water suppliers in conjunction with local authorities must ensure that private supplies are registered, and that monitoring is undertaken in line with the Regulations. 

This report outlines the actions that need to be taken to address the issues highlighted.
The full EPA report is available HERE

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Outstanding Pandemic Bonuses To Be Paid To Healthcare Staff Before Xmas.

The majority of remaining healthcare staff, latter who have not yet received their €1,000 pandemic recognition payment, first announced in January of this year, will now receive same by the end of his month (November 2022), the HSE has confirmed

These recognition payments were initiated by the Irish State as a means to compensate frontline workers for their collective efforts in fronting our public health system, during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown period.

Unavoidable delays came about about due to agency workers, being categorised as public servants and third-party contractors, and while funded by the HSE, were difficult to immediately identify.

The HSE has awarded a tender to Public Sector consultants Kosi to implement the payment of these bonuses, to these workers in non-HSE and non-Section 38 organisations, who include those employed in private sector nursing homes; Section 39 (in receipt of State grant aid) long-term care facilities for those with disabilities; agency workers in the HSE and home care assistants, latter contracted to the HSE.

The HSE has confirmed that communications have already issued, (since November 1st) to the organisations/employers of potentially eligible employees.
Same communications contained details of how those bodies can apply for payment for their work force, allowing same to pay such named employees on or about the end of November 2022.

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Closure Order Served On Tipperary Chinese ‘Take Away’.

Four food closure orders were served on food businesses in Ireland during the month of October, one of which was on a Chinese ‘Take Away’ premises in South Co. Tipperary.

The closure orders were pursuant to the FSAI Act, 1998, and the European Union (Official Controls in Relation to Food Legislation) Regulations, 2020.

All four ‘Closure Orders’; three of which were at Dublin addresses, were issued by Environmental Health Officers in the Health Service Executive, for flagrant breaches of strict food safety legislation.

The Tipperary Closure Order was served on Zhang Yu Qing and referred to the

According to the Food Hygiene Inspection Report, the Clogheen Food premises was not kept clean or maintained in good repair and condition.

Evidence provided included:-

  • Large accumulation of loose food waste, domestic waste, and recycling waste thrown in all areas of the back yard.
  • Build-up of slime and grease in ground area of backyard.
  • Food equipment and utensils stored on the ground outside and inside.
  • Uncovered ready to eat food stored in outside backyard area.
  • Embedded grease and dirt on all cooking appliances in kitchen.
  • Accumulation of dead flies on food storage shelf in cooking area.
  • Congealed grease dripping onto food preparation surfaces.
  • Food storage containers unclean and embedded with dirt.
  • Food utensils with rust evident.
  • Piping surrounding sinks embedded with congealed dirt grease and slime.
  • Mould evident on seals of chest freezer and fridges.
  • Large build-up of stale food debris around all cooking equipment.
  • Food waste bins covered in Grease, stale food and dirt not removed since day before.

Commenting on all four Closure Orders served last month, Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive, FSAI, said it was disappointing that inspectors continue to find a lack of evidence of safe cleaning practices in food businesses.
Dr Byrne stated “It is a legal requirement for all food businesses to have their premises protected against pests and kept clean and yet food inspectors continue to find unacceptable levels of non-compliance with food safety legislation in some food businesses.
There is a personal responsibility for managers and all employees to comply with food safety law at all times. There can be zero tolerance for negligent practices that put consumers’ health at risk and Environmental Health Officers will use the full powers available to them under food law if a food business is found to be in breach. Consumers have a right to safe food and food businesses have a legal requirement to ensure that the food they are processing, serving or selling is safe to eat,”

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