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Hospital heroes

Having spent seven days as a patient in Tallaght Hospital, I spent two nights in the A&E department and I have the utmost respect for the doctors and nurses working there.

They work 12-hour shifts, with no complaining, and are extremely efficient and caring.

On arrival in the A&E department, I was given a complete medical check-up. I know the facilities in A&E are very poor, ie trollies everywhere, thanks to our terrible health service, but the quality of care given by the medical staff in Tallaght Hospital should be highlighted. I should know, I was there.

A Kennelly Dublin 24

fights for rights

Regarding Andrew Lynch's article -- Irish WWII heroes were demonised, now they deserve our full pardon (Herald, June 29).

I'm the author of the book you referred to, Spitting On A Soldier's Grave and I want to congratulate Andrew Lynch, and the Herald, for having the courage to make a clear and unequivocal stand in support of the heroes who were so shamefully treated in 1945.

Meeting a few of this dwindling band of brave men was a privilege and I was constantly struck by their lack of self-pity and a refusal to ask for help or favour.

All they want is to be allowed to live their remaining years free of the stigma and shame visited on them by the Kangaroo Court-Martial they were condemned under.

But the time left to seek a pardon for these men, whilst they are still this side of the grave, is rapidly running out. These are the men who stood up to Hitler, liberated the Nazi concentration camps and freed Europe from tyranny. They are too proud to ask for help themselves, so I ask on their behalf.

Please support the pardons campaign, sign the petition, and write to An Taoiseach. It is time we repaid our debt to the old soldiers...

Robert Widders


public vs private

With regards to Marisa Mackle's article (Herald, June 27) in which she writes about going private to have a baby, I am willing to guess that the woman to whom she refers to was a private patient in a public hospital.

My wife did a lot of research before having our baby and found that it was likely to be a waste of money going private to a public hospital, as you would pay the €4,000 and have no way of knowing whether you would give birth in a "broom cupboard".

So we paid a little bit extra (€300-€500) and went private to a private hospital, and she has since had a second child in exactly the same way, with near perfect care.

I'll add to that, that we would have gone public all the way if she was able to have natural childbirth. We would have then seen no point in wasting the costs on private care for a consultant that wouldn't even attend the birth. The public hospitals are a shambles even when you go private, the private hospitals are not.

And yes, there does seem to be a major snobbery attached to the "private" vs "public" route; with us, that was simply not the case.


michael's column

As a regular reader of your newspaper, I am writing in disgust about Michael O'Doherty's piece on small-minded begrudgers (Herald, June 27).

He may pontificate if he likes about who has what handbag, about how up-coming weddings are all that matters in our lives, and that's fine.

However, when he states that it's only small-minded begrudgers who complained about U2's decision to move their corporate base to Holland in 2006, it is not on.

This decision was criticised by the Debt and Development Coalition (DDCI), whose members include Concern, Trocaire, Oxfam and a string of Catholic missionary orders,

Michael, stick to the handbags and Gucci and stay away from real life.

R Cahill, by email