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Instead of giving out about them, let’s bring our doctors and nurses home!

It’s the most beautiful Monday morning as I head off to the workplace in Athlone. As I learned off by heart in the national school, when I was writing compositions, ‘the sun splitting the stones and not a cloud to be seen in the clear blue sky.’ I was in right good humour after a wonderfully relaxed Sunday afternoon watching some top class action on the rugby, hurling and gaelic football fields – and looking forward to the celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day.

  Now, despite the ease with which we can get the news on the Internet, I am unashamedly a devotee of the written word and so, every day I buy at least one of the national daily newspapers, while on Mondays, (because of the weekend sporting action) I get both the Daily Mail and the Irish Independent. In my defence, I get the Mail every day, mainly because it’s great value, but also because it has a simple crossword, one that is just about right for my (limited) intellectual ability. And so, on this beautiful morning, I got the two papers, threw them on the front seat of the (so far) trusty enough Almera, and hit off up the main road to the sun-bathed Westmeath town.

  Being early in the morning, I wasn’t too busy and so I devoured the Indo, before then turning my attention to the Mail, and I was immediately drawn to their sensational headline ‘The Doctors On €100,000 Overtime’, which told about four Junior Doctors who racked up (in the Mail’s words) a staggering €100,000 in overtime alone last year. It also told of a Registrar who took home “an astonishing €180,952” gross pay in the same year.

  Now, as the father of an overworked, stressed-out hospital doctor, who has just finished an unbroken 12 days work run, during which she had four twenty-four hour on-call stints, as well as working a minimum of 13 hours every other day, which comes to a total of 200 hours in 12 days, it made my blood boil to read such biased, provocative and sensational headlines.

  The article focused on the gross earnings of some doctors, instead of dealing with the immoral, probably illegal situation, which is forcing our medical people (both nurses and doctors), to literally work themselves to the bone. What they earn is not the issue, and I can tell you that when the taxman and his cronies get at it, it can become very ordinary, but what is at stake here is the toll this outrageous abuse takes on the health and well-being of our front-line medical staff – and following on from that – what effect it can have on their performance and consequently on the care that is given to their patients.

  Forever and ever we have listened to successive governments promising to sort out the health system – while each year it gets worse and worse. As a simple ordinary two and sixpence, it seems to me that the answer is very obvious; we haven’t got enough personnel. We need a lot more doctors and nurses, so find the money to get more on board, and, despite the Daily Mail headlines, make it attractive for our own graduates to stay working here at home.

  It is widely accepted that our nurses and doctors earn more money, have better working conditions, and work substantially less hours, in practically every country overseas, so let all our public representatives get together and once and for all sort out the health service.

            I can guarantee that none of the hospital staff want to work the hours they have to work, (in fact sometimes because of the tax system they get less take-home pay the more they work), so let’s have less sensationalism and more realism about the Third World conditions that they have to endure.

            Over to ye, Fitz, Denis, Eugene and all your newly-elected colleagues, get the finger out and sort it all out.

Cowardly murderers

My mind is struggling to understand the mentality of gunmen who can casually stroll along a crowded beach and shoot, kill and maim innocent men, women and children, in the name of whatever misguided cause they claim to believe in.

  The image of a five-year-old boy, kneeling on the sand, pleading for his life before being shot dead, is almost too much to comprehend and sends a shiver down my spine. What cowards those murderers were, and I’m fairly sure whatever God they apparently were shouting about wouldn’t be welcoming them with open arms when they presented themselves for admittance to whatever Heavenly Kingdom they arrived at after they were “neutralised” by members of the Ivory Coast special forces.

  The frightening thing, of course, is that people are totally defenceless when they are sunbathing on any beach, and in truth these murdering thugs are capable of attacking beaches anywhere, at any time. It’s almost impossible to stop, but equally, people can’t let them win by staying away from worldwide seaside resorts.  

My mind is struggling to understand the mentality of gunmen who can casually stroll along a crowded beach and shoot, kill and maim innocent men, women and children, in the name of whatever misguided cause they claim to believe in.

  The image of a five-year-old boy, kneeling on the sand, pleading for his life before being shot dead, is almost too much to comprehend and sends a shiver down my spine. What cowards those murderers were, and I’m fairly sure whatever God they apparently were shouting about wouldn’t be welcoming them with open arms when they presented themselves for admittance to whatever Heavenly Kingdom they arrived at after they were “neutralised” by members of the Ivory Coast special forces.

  The frightening thing, of course, is that people are totally defenceless when they are sunbathing on any beach, and in truth these murdering thugs are capable of attacking beaches anywhere, at any time. It’s almost impossible to stop, but equally, people can’t let them win by staying away from worldwide seaside resorts.  

Rossies worthy of place in top tier

Finally, for this week, back in the day, The Big Eight were a leading showband featuring the great Brendan Bowyer and our good friend Twink. In recent years, The Big Eight is talked about in football terms. Like the showband, there are always two main headline acts, usually Kerry and the Dubs, with Cork, Mayo, Tyrone and Donegal nearly always in supporting roles.

  Monaghan, Armagh and one or two others occasionally get into the elite group, and now there is a new kid in the block, with the Rossies definitely worthy of their place in the top tier.

  As the All-Ireland winners always come from the Big Eight, the third week in September is now featuring in holiday plans for a number of Roscommon supporters! It’s going to be an exciting summer.

Till next week, bye for now

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