Friday 30 September 2016

The frontline HSE staff are a credit to this country

Published 21/07/2015 | 02:30

'I received excellent care in HSE hospitals and centres'
'I received excellent care in HSE hospitals and centres'

I regularly read articles about the HSE, mostly negative comments. I wonder if those writers ever had the experience of being a patient in the Irish hospital system?

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Over the past 12 months, I have spent 13 weeks in James Connolly Memorial Hospital; four weeks in St Mary's, Phoenix Park; one week respite care in Cherry Orchard; and one week respite care in the MS centre.

Whilst there I have had dealings with all members of staff: A&E, nurses, doctors, consultants, care assistants, kitchen staff, cleaning staff, social workers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and various students.

Words fail to adequately describe the excellent care and attention I received while under their care.

I accept that there are problems in the HSE but in my experience they are not caused by the staff in the aforementioned facilities, who are providing first-rate professional care to their patients whilst under continuous pressure from a poorly funded system. The frontline staff are a credit to this country.

I have thankfully returned home now and have a home care package, again provided by the HSE, where my wife's full-time care of me is assisted daily by amazing care assistants and public health nurses.

Denis McNamara

Lucan, Co Dublin

Getting water on the cheap

I am one of the 46pc of Irish people who has paid my water tax and I will continue to pay for it as long as the tax is there - forever, if necessary.

I have a lot of bills to pay on a monthly basis but I am getting my water on the cheap.

How people can think they should not pay for this essential requirement baffles me. If they are really serious about this, then let them buy themselves a couple of water butts and use this "pure water" for their morning tea, their baths, cleaning their baby's bottle, etc.

The water comes from the sky, it just does not come into our taps by magic. There is a long process to ensure its quality before we use it and that service is not free; someone has to pay for it and that's all of us.

The saddest part is that people who are not paying have just believed the rhetoric coming from some of our TDs, such as Ruth Coppinger, Paul Murphy and Mick Wallace, etc, who have done a lot of scaremongering over the last couple of years.

I am an Irishman with social responsibilities and whilst I might not like some of the extras we are now paying for, water is not an extra - it's an essential.

Donough O'Reilly

Kilmacud, Co Dublin

Greek riposte

Martina Devlin (Irish Independent, June 16) appears to congratulate herself with her 'gotcha' question to an irate young Greek man when she put it to him that "perhaps European governments might struggle to justify to their taxpayers lending more money that may never be repaid?"

Had the young man been better informed of events in Martina's own country, he could have retorted: "I don't see why, your Government convinced its taxpayers to also pay off private creditor debt on almost the same terms; the only difference being they had no prospect of being repaid because your Government never even asked for any of the money back."

Kevin Barrins

Donnybrook, Dublin 4

Haircuts for the bald

Permit me a down-home analogy: I am follically challenged, so a visit to the barber for a trim is something of a contradiction in terms.

Greece (or, officially, the Hellenic Republic) is financially Kojak-bald, so a greater or lesser write-down/ haircut is meaningless beyond reason!

Oliver McGrane

Rathfarnham, Dublin

Church weddings

In your editorial, 'Church weddings keep link with religion' (Irish Independent, June 20), it was suggested that couples are opting for church weddings in order to maintain a strong point of contact with the Catholic Church.

I would say this statistic has nothing to do with any pious Catholic allegiance and more to do with social conformity. Also, the fairytale wedding is still the desired route to matrimony because of the intravenous injection of Hollywood we have all been administered since childhood.

The big white wedding is the big white elephant in the room: shallow, vacuous and steeped in commercialism. Even the Catholic Church is aware of this truth, but after the hammering it has taken in the last decade, it will gratefully embrace it as some kind of moral, albeit Pyrrhic, victory.

K Thomas

Baldoyle, Dublin

Learning from planning errors

Paul Melia's piece 'State fund to boost cash flow to big developers' (Irish Independent, July 20) raises a number of fundamental issues with regard to policy in relation to housing and planning.

While it is understandable that representatives of the construction industry are focused on reducing their own costs and are making their case robustly to Government, we do need to consider what the consequences are of some of the proposed measures, such as the abolition of development levies and reducing VAT.

The proposal to further reduce development levies needs to be examined thoroughly. Development levies are in place to provide the necessary infrastructure and services that are needed when estates are built.

While Government is signalling that it will provide funding to reduce costs, can it give a guarantee to local authorities that it will cover the full cost? If local authorities are left with a funding shortfall, undoubtedly it would fall back on the local property tax and commercial rate income. Local authorities are already stretched and there is no doubt that additional costs would put pressure on existing services, such as maintaining residential areas and projects aimed at improving communities.

History teaches us that when Government has interfered on pricing in many cases it actually had the opposite of the intended effect.

The proposals to potentially reduce building standards, such as eliminating the requirement for car parking and reducing the average size of units, are very worrying and are frankly storing up problems down the line for local authorities.

Government needs to take a balanced approach and be acutely aware of the mistakes of the past when it came to planning. Local authorities across Ireland are still dealing with the fallout.

Cllr Justin Sinnott (Independent)

Swords Ward, Fingal County Council

Irish Independent

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