'I faced a two-year wait for cataract surgery but my eyesight was worsening'
Myra Greene (59), from Dunmanway, in Co Cork, suffered deteriorating eyesight due to cataracts but faced a two-year wait for a specialist appointment.
Cataracts usually get slowly worse over time, and surgery to replace the cloudy lens is needed.
"I have arthritis and the steroids caused the cataracts. I am a carer for my husband who is in a wheelchair, so it is important I keep driving," she said.
She read how Michael Collins, her local Independent TD for Cork South West, was organising bus trips to Belfast for local constituents who also desperately needed cataract surgery.
They were availing of the cross-Border directive where they pay the cost of the procedure upfront and are reimbursed by the HSE.
"Michael organised everything. We stayed overnight in a hotel, had the surgery at Kingsbridge Hospital in Belfast the next day, and came home."
The surgery has been life-changing, and Myra is travelling for surgery on the other eye in the next convoy on May 26. Some people went to the credit union to pay for the surgery, costing more than €1,000, but they will get the money back. She would not likely qualify for the current Government €55m waiting list initiative. "The alternative was to stay on the waiting list and see my eyesight get worse," she said.