Ger Walsh Column 15/12/16 : the

Ger Walsh Column 15/12/16

| December 15, 2016

hospital for web

Half-dressed patient outside smoking in his wheelchair

The problems with the health service are never far from the headlines in this country with people complaining about delays in A&E, lack of access to beds and long waiting times to see consultants.

You would imagine, therefore, that when people do actually get access to a hospital that they would make the best of their opportunity to take advantage of the medical care they were being provided with.

Sadly, however, that is not always the case and in some respects the attitude of people and their conduct in A&E may well be contributing to the problems in the service.

This was brought home to me in stark terms recently during a visit to Wexford General on a cold December night.

As I left I noticed a man in a wheelchair around the corner from A&E. He had obviously been pushed out there by his friend who was standing with him.

There was a hospital drip attached to the man in the chair. I took a second look because I thought there was something strange about the scene and on second glance I discovered what it was. Yes this man was smoking in a designated no smoking area while hospital apparatus was attached to him, but unfortunately there is nothing really unusual about that.

However, what was a bit strange was that this individual was naked from the waist up. Yes he was sitting there smoking in a wheelchair on a cold winter’s night with the top part of his body completely uncovered.

He certainly did not appreciate the fact that he was being provided with necessary medical care at an A&E which so many people have fought so hard to retain.


It’s  the trees war

What was the biggest issue in Gorey this year? Housing I suppose, or more specifically the chronic shortage of all types of housing in North Wexford. However, believe it or not, trees would be a close second.

It is amazing the amount of debate there has been about the type of trees which should be planted in various parts of the town.

The pro and anti-trees campaigners have been lined up against each other for months and they have campaigned with the type of determination and passion rarely seen since the Civil War.

Fionntan O’Suilleabhain is on the pro-trees side while Robbie Ireton is on the anti side.

Where Fronntan sees beauty and long life in the wonderful broad leaf tree Robbie sees a mess and danger as people slip and fall on the streets.

Where Fionntan sees the wonder of long life through trees that will still be standing when the bi-centenary of 1916 is celebrated Robbie sees a waste of money.

Isn’t it strange how two people can look at look exactly the same thing and each see something completely different?



Time to help people save their homes

There is an old saying that all politics is local and TD Michael D’Arcy obviously takes this advice to his heart. Last week he contributed to the new housing strategy debate in the Dail. The Bill covers a lot of areas with the aim of getting more houses built.

But D’Arcy managed to take the opportunity to talk about coastal erosion in North Wexford. How did he do it? Very clever really. He raised it as part of planning and told the Minister that restrictions on works in coastal areas needed to be lifted to enable people to protect their homes.

He highlighted the case in North Wexford where a house is completely cut off and the residents have to make their way home by using the property of a local landowner.

D’Arcy’s point was that in all the fuss over improving the planning process to speed up new house building the plight of people who were in danger of losing the homes they already have to the sea due to planning restrictions are being forgotten about.


That’s all folks!

And so that’s about it. The year that was 2016 is almost at an end. There is still some frantic Christmas shopping to be done and no doubt a good few parties to enjoy but the sun is fading fast on this year.

It was a remarkable year in many respects. A year which saw a caretaker government in control for three months but no one really noticed any difference and then when we finally got a government it didn’t seem like the real thing either. More like a sort of pretend government, with more pretending as each month passed. Some government Ministers even pretended they were in opposition and at least one pretended to be the Minister for Justice when he was actually the Minister for Transport.

All very strange, but at least Enda Kenny has something to smile about as he inhabits the Taoiseach’s Office for a sixth Christmas and looks forward to a trip to meet Donald Trump next St. Patrick’s Day.

In the US it was the year they elected a man who they said was unelectable and in the UK they did the unthinkable and voted to leave Europe.

In Wexford it was the year we celebrated the centenary of 1916 and to be fair it was a really great success. The years of planning paid off and Easter Monday 2016 in Enniscorthy is a day that will be long remembered by all who were lucky enough to be there.

But as always this time of year brings mixed emotions for so many. Christmas is a time of great joy and wonder, but it is also a time when people remember. They remember those who are no longer around to take their place at the table on Christmas Day or to sing their favourite party songs in the run up to Christmas.

There are also many people in our community who have little to celebrate this Christmas season. Unbelievably there are many living alone who will not have a single visitor on Christmas Day while others who are struggling to keep a roof over their head will find it difficult to get into the party mood this year.

Spare a thought for all these people as you sip your glass of wine, help yourself to a generous portion of turkey and ham or struggle to decide which chocolate to select from the box.

And above all if you have a chance do look in on a neighbour this festive season.

That’s it from us for 2016, it just remains for me to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a successful 2017.

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