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‘Sorry’ doesn’t absolve blame and heal all wounds



Another week, another grovelling HSE apology. This time the fawning, too little, too late “we’re very sorry” centred on the findings of a 2015 commissioned report concerning maternity services at Portiuncula University Hospital which examined the delivery and neonatal care of 18 babies between 2008 and 2014. Six of those little angels sadly died; another six have various medical issues, some of which are life-changing.

  I must stress that when no complications presented themselves at this hospital, everything appeared to go well, and everything ended well for patients; but when the going got tough, and things got complicated, the entire maternity care system appeared to come tumbling down, resulting in unspeakable tragedy and heartbreak for many parents.

  Now readers, as a nation, we’re an easygoing and forgiving race, and, if someone issues us with what is a sincere apology, we tend to regain our composure, accept it and politely move on. However, given the revelations around what are a series of grave and profound litany of medical screw-ups, I have to ask if perhaps the HSE might like to consider employing someone to sit in a back room and compile a future list of recipes for reliable apologies, because I for one am very concerned and wonder if any of us can ever again feel confident when receiving medical care.

  You see, medicine is a specialised field, and we, the patients, place ourselves in the hands of what we believe to be expert professionals, and depend on them to do what is best for us.  However, while the level of our dependency on those whizz-kids in white coats is acute, it appears, given the recent botch-ups, the level of their responsibility towards us is not commensurate; and if I were of a suspicious nature (and I am), I’d have to assume that there is a culture of medicine in this country that is, in itself, very, very unhealthy.

  At this point I must add that there are, of course, decent people working within the HSE and an awful lot of good work is being done, and we should acknowledge that fact.  However, a lot of rot is still simmering underneath. In order to get rid of the stench of that decay our country needs to see systemic change in both the government and the HSE senior management, because put simply, due to their lack of candour, clarity, accountability and disclosure to us, (patients and voters), it’s clear we cannot trust either and that dear readers, is a damning indictment against our society.

Pedal power and mischievous minions…

Don’t forget, this Sunday, RosFM will proudly present their Pedal Powered Cinema fundraiser in the Dr. Hyde Centre, Athlone Road, Roscommon. The feature movie extravaganza will be Despicable Me 3. I’m told doors open at 2 pm, and the big picture begins at 3 pm.

  Entry is free folks, and so is the raffle, but do drop in a donation or two. And by the way, hard-working volunteers are not your free babysitters, so keep those darling little cherubs supervised at all times. 

Why I believe our Gardaí should be armed

Last week, during what I can only describe as a moment of weakness, (call it decrepitude brought on by menopause), I tuned into Today with Maura and Daithí! And don’t you dare judge me, because I’ll bet one or two of you have also had the odd lapse of common sense and delved into the murky waters of mundane daytime telly; so park it and let’s move on.

  Anyhow, the debate du jour centred on whether or not our Gardaí should be armed. Now for me, this a no-brainer and I believe that yes, frontline Gardaí should be armed with some sort of protection. If ever proof were needed to back up my beliefs, it’d be last week’s incident involving a member of the force up in Dublin, whom, while going about his duty, found himself being seriously assaulted by a thug wielding a metal baseball bat. Thank God it wasn’t anything more destructive.

  You see, it’s a sad and worrying fact that citizens of this country appear to have lost all respect for An Garda Síochána, and not a week goes by where we don’t hear and read about attacks on members of the public and now, more recently, on our police force. Now as it appears, (in order to do the most damage), the weapon of choice for these pieces of scum is usually a firearm, we simply cannot send frontline Gardaí into potentially dangerous and highly incendiary situations, and expect them to have any chance of resolving them, without first arming them with a means of personal protection.

  Look, I’m not saying our Government should issue firearms willy-nilly, and I do know we have a professionally trained Emergency Response Unit, but I agree with the Garda Representative Association when they say ordinary rank and file officers should be given extra protection while on duty, and in my opinion perhaps a taser would be a dinky little accessory to hang on their protective vests alongside their extendable baton and pepper spray.

  For those who disagree, let me assure you that I’m not for one minute advocating for violence here, nor am I suggesting Gardaí should go round tasering everyone who steps out of line – I mean, those stun guns emit a serious dose of electricity, causing temporary paralysis – so proper training and procedures around skill, accuracy and most importantly attitude must be put in place. We want to make sure our Gardaí thoroughly assess each incident and that if the situation warrants it, they will always reach for the least lethal weapon in their arsenal.

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