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Is it time to talk about Frank?

It’s another Monday morning, with more than half the month of January gone, and at the early hour of a quarter to nine, I found myself heading back to the cardiac facilities in the County Hospital in Roscommon to undergo a check-up and stress test, with the brilliant team run by Rosemary Thorpe and Deirdre O’Reilly.

  Now I had no intention whatsoever of telling you about my visit (incidentally I put on 2 lbs over the Christmas, which I thought was not too bad, but which didn’t greatly please the cardiac people) until I tuned into Shannonside Radio on my way to work and heard Joe Finnegan conducting a most interesting interview with soon-to-be-retired Boyle-based Fine Gael TD Frank Feighan.

  The dogs on the street know the story of Enda Kenny’s promises (prior to the last General Election) to keep the A&E facilities in the County Hospital open, and how subsequently the promise proved to have no more substance than the recent fall of snow – and how when Feighan voted with the Government to close the A&E Dept. he effectively wrote an end to what up to then had been a glittering political career.

  Now I have only once, very briefly, met Frank Feighan, and that was long before he became a TD, so this is definitely not a party political broadcast on his behalf, but listening to him today it was hard not to feel that he was badly treated and his insistence that he did what he thought was right for both his constituents and the hospital was spoken with a great degree of sincerity.

  We have all suffered with the closure of the A&E Dept., but in truth it was the Taoiseach himself who made the broken promises and the Boyle man who suffered.

  However, leaving the A&E Dept. aside, nobody can argue with the statement that Roscommon County Hospital is vastly improved over the last few years, and as a recent beneficiary of the fantastic cardiac services there, I can say it’s a credit to all concerned.

  I don’t know how much of those improvements can be laid at Frank Feighan’s door, but, as he leaves political life behind him, maybe he should be judged on the overall picture regarding the hospital, which also has a new soon to be opened endoscopy unit, at a €5 million cost, rather than just as the man who – rightly or wrongly – is blamed for closing the A&E Unit.

Motoring madness

During the recent cold spell, when the roads were at their slippiest and most dangerous in the early mornings, twice I saw lads (maybe girls) take their lives (and other people’s lives as well) in their hands by leaving the line of traffic and overtaking at ridiculous speeds.

  It was the height of stupidity and we have to realise that, in such driving conditions, it’s better to arrive safely and late, than being dead on time.

  It’s safe to assume that as we’re still only halfway through January, there’s loads more bad frosty and snowy weather to come, so if it was you who broke the line, in future stay where you are and don’t take unnecessary risks.

Can Nick do the trick?

What about the news that Nicky Byrne is going to sing for us in the Eurovision Song Contest? Surely he could have given that a miss, having got away for years with making millions on the strength of Shane Filan and Mark Feehily being such good singers in Westlife.

  Now he has to take his own lead – and while he won’t  have to live up to much, after Jedward and Dustin – I still think he might have been better off to, as they say, let sleeping dogs lie.

  However, what’s done is done and we will all get behind him and who knows, maybe he might restore our good name in the Eurovision. Even if he doesn’t win, let’s hope he at least ends up in a respectable finishing place.

And finally…

Finally for this week…up to now the most famous John McCormack that I had heard about was the renowned late singer from Athlone…however this week we learned of the other one, the Chief Executive of the Irish Cancer Society, who, while he may never have released any musical recordings, was certainly laughing all the way to the bank.

  A salary of €145,000 was more than enough to keep him happy, but I would wonder how all the thousands of voluntary fundraisers, who give up their time to sell daffodils, as well as taking part in lots of other fundraising activities, feel about it. He has volunteered to take a €10,000 cut, which is in my opinion an empty gesture, and once again it highlights the rewards (remember the IFA, the FAI, the banks, amongst others) that are available for the occupiers of such positions.

  I don’t really have any qualifications as such (do you need any?), but if any organisation out there needs a chief executive, I’m available, ready and willing – and as a gesture of good faith, l’ll start at €100,000. Martina at the People will give you my number.

Til next week, bye for now

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