Sunday, 17th December 2017
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With Breda Gardner Homeopath, lcph, mcos, rgn

Health Therapies Clinic

13 Gladstone Street, Waterford.

Tel: 087 2025753.

Insight Natural Health Clinic

15 Upper Patrick St, Kilkenny

Tel: 056 7724429

The great disconnect

We had a wonderful evening in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny, where my family and I live. The local community came together for a magical celebration of the imminent arrival of Christmas. Locals gathered on the quay, carols were sang, lights were lit, and Santa came into the centre of town on a Fire Engine. There was a wonderful buzz throughout the whole of the town. Everyone came together. For the most part, everything was organised by local committees, all run by volunteers who gave freely of their time and sometimes of their money too.

It was a truly special evening. And now, as I write this week’s article and I reflect on the night’s events, it really brought home to me the great disconnect in our society. We have volunteer groups who are completely in touch with their local communities, and professional politicians who are completely disconnected from what is happening around them, in areas such as health, housing, inequality, corruption and more.

I generally try to steer clear of politics in my weekly articles. I am primarily writing about health matters, after all! But from time to time, politics and health overlap, and this last week was a case in point.

On November 29th, Minister for Health Simon Harris met with a select group of local politicians to discuss cardiac care in our region. Frankly, I was utterly, utterly disgusted by this meeting. Firstly, the minister only met with a limited subsection of cherry-picked, high level politicians from our region. Secondly, he did not see fit to meet with other interested parties, such as the South East Patients Advocacy Group. And thirdly, he did not bother to invite concerned representatives and elected officials from beyond the Waterford area.

The disgraceful and unforgiveable lack of 24 x 7 cardiac care in the South East means that people from counties Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford will continue to die as a direct result of the misguided and flawed policies of this government. No amount of reviews, meetings, briefings and enquiries will change that fact. As an elected local politician, healthcare professional, mother, South East resident and former nurse, that sickens me to the core. That sham meeting on 29th November represented all that is wrong with politics in Ireland: self-congratulatory words, the appearance that something was being done, and still no action. Shame on you Minister Simon Harris and all the so-called representatives who met with you. Shame on all of you for not immediately implementing 24 x 7 cardiac care in the South East. As a direct result of your inaction, more people in the South East will die unnecessarily.

I realise that this is strong language, but sadly it is also justified language. As the situation with Frances Fitzgerald proves, FF have the power to hold FG to account, and to force them into action where it is justified. I cannot for the life of me understand why FF have not used this same power to demand 24 x 7 cardiac care in the South East, something that, lest we forget, they vociferously campaigned on in the last election campaign. I cannot understand why FG will not implement what is clearly the correct policy. And I cannot understand why SF and Labour will also not force the issue. There is a desperate disconnect between our national politicians and vital local issues, and things will not get better in Ireland until the two are reconciled.

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