25 Feb 2009

It didn’t make the TV news as far as I know, but Junior Minister for Health, Máire Hoctor, was booed off the stage by a very large and very angry crowd in Nenagh on Saturday when she tried to defend the Government’s decision to (effectively) slowly shut down Nenagh General Hospital.

It was a serious situation and not the kind of thing you witness all that often. What happened was that Hoctor, who had barely managed to introduce herself to the crowd (of average, everyday, middle-income, buggy-pushing folk) – a crowd which only moments before had warm-heartedly and good naturedly applauded the likes of Eamon Gilmore and Morris Nelligan – before the mood changed so quickly and so radically that event organisers appeared to advise the Junior Minister to step back from the microphone and slip quietly away into the background, which she did. The following speaker, government-supporting-independent Michael Lowry, suffered the same fate.

You’ll get some idea of what happened from the video below. The Hoctor situation begins around 7.30, the Lowry situation directly thereafter. The clip doesn’t give the full flavour of what went on – the cameraman was obviously very near to the PA system so you get the sense that Hoctor could actually be heard above the din which, in fact, she couldn’t. You also don’t get the sense of how vigorously the the crowd opposed her. Nor do you see how ignominiously she shuffled away from centre stage. 

Is this a planning issue? Sure it is. First, the gradual phasing out of smaller hospitals in favour of larger (sort of privately run) medical factories in the big cities is the logical conclusion of the government’s National Spatial Strategy which, in all but name, discriminates against people who don’t live in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford. It also might be considered a planning matter in that, in order for the plan to succeed, a considerable amount of infrastructure needs to be in place before the services currently being provided in hospitals like Nenagh and Ennis can be shifted to Limerick Regional. The infrastructure in question - by everyone's estimate - will not be ready by April 1st, the day on which Nenagh Hospital’s gradual demise is set to begin.
 
Meanwhile, getting back to the Junior Minister, there is some discussion that Hoctor (allegedly) told interested parties early last week that if opposition to the proposed, eh, hospital reorganisation were to receive the kind of reception it ultimately actually did receive at Saturday’s  demo, then Nenagh hospital might be spared at the expense of Ennis. If this is so, then Tony Killeen and Timmy Dooley might want to avoid Ennis on the day the inevitable demonstration takes place when the Clare people figure out the Government's exit strategy.

Meanwhile, meanwhile, why are these people still in government?

Thursday, 26 February 2009 09:03:30 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I always enjoy your blog Gary but come on. You know the issue is not about closing Nenagh & Ennis Hospitals but about keeping 24 hour A & E when there is apparently a need for only 1 A&E admission per night. The regional in Limerick is hardly a privately run medical factory.

When Prime Time covered this they had footage of the previous protest meeting in Nenagh with someone in a wheel chair who said he'd be dead if he hadn't got into A&E in Nenagh. I'm sorry for whatever happened to him but I was wondering if he'd got to the regional in Limerick would he still be walking?

As a planning issue I don't buy your argument. The level of investment that would be required to provide a state of the art A&E on a 24x7 basis in every county hospital in the country is not sustainable. I take the point about the infrastructure having to be in place to support this change (which I think in this case means the ambulance service?) Did the doctors leading this change on primetime say it wouldn't happen if it wasn't in place? Given the news from the HSE on Monday there's got to a doubt about that happening.

Jaybee
Thursday, 26 February 2009 18:41:34 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Garry, I enjoy reading your blog, but for me this one is way off-topic. While I agree that the proposals for healthcare in the Mid-West are deplorable (up to 2 hours drive from parts of west Clare to Limerick!!), would a different platform not be more appropriate? Please let's stick to comment on actual planning matters like Carrick-on-Suir...
Hissing Sid
Monday, 02 March 2009 18:36:04 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Euros Inflations
von Raivo Pommer-raimo1@hot.ee

Die Lebensversicherung ist in Zeiten der Abgeltungsteuer eine der letzten Anlageformen, die der Fiskus privilegiert. Denn unter bestimmten Voraussetzungen muss der Anleger nur die Hälfte der Erträge beim Finanzamt deklarieren - und das auch erst am Ende der Laufzeit. Selbst wenn dann der persönliche Steuersatz von bis zu 42 Prozent gilt, ist das immer noch günstiger, als alles mit dem Abgeltungsteuersatz von 25 Prozent zu versteuern. Doch vom 1. April an verschärfen sich die Anforderungen für die Bevorzugung.

Dann darf die Lebensversicherung nicht mehr einfach nur eine Geldanlage sein, sondern muss sich wieder ihrem eigentlichen Zweck nähern: der Absicherung der Angehörigen im Todesfall. Dazu wird ein Mindest-Risikoschutz vorgeschrieben, der sich entweder an den eingezahlten Beiträgen, der garantierten Zahlung bei Fälligkeit oder dem Zeitwert orientiert
euros
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