Ireland's Eye: What's going on in the old sod


Priests and Patients

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has confirmed to that it can no longer facilitate clerics in Offaly with access to a list of patients at the Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore, for pastoral visits, breaking a long tradition between health authorities and religious personnel, because giving information to a third party breaches data protection legislation.

Since mid-January, the new visitor policy means it will not be possible for priests to know the people from the parish who are in hospital unless they have the name of the patient in advance, a development which has caused some difficulties for priests or ministers in the county who visit people in hospital on a regular basis and to some patients who are upset by the change.

Daingean’s Father Patrick O’Byrne remarked that the change in policy has been a nuisance for local clerics as they no longer have any access to admission lists to visit people in hospital as had been the case for many years.

He said he now has to know beforehand someone is in hospital before he can go and visit them, encouraging his parishioners to get in touch if they have a relative or friend who would appreciate a pastoral visit.

O’Byrne added that just last week he visited a person from Daingean in Tullamore Hospital, but subsequently found out afterwards that there were a number of other people from the area in the hospital, but without access to the admission lists he didn’t know at the time and couldn’t stop by.

In a statement, the HSE said the Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore respects the spiritual practice of all denominations, but due to data protection legislation they can no longer give out personal information to a third party.

“Data protection legislation stipulates that, as a public body, the HSE must keep personal information safe and secure and that the use and disclosure of this information must be compatible with why it is collected in the first instance,” the statement said.
Offaly Independent
Moms Getting Older

FIRST time mothers in Leitrim have the highest average age in the country, according to findings published recently by the Central Statistics Office.

The average age of mothers at first maternity in the country was 31.1 years old, it was revealed in the vital statistics for the second quarter of 2010.

Nationally women in the 30-34 age bracket accounted for the highest number of births overall at 6,528, and those in the 34-39 age group accounted for he next highest number of births, with 4,454 babies born. This shows that women are waiting longer than ever before having children.

In total, some 18,844 births were registered nationally in the second quarter of quarter of last year.
Leitrim Observer

Longford Glee

Since September 2009, the hit U.S. series Glee has captivated the hearts and minds of music lovers throughout the world.

Glee club is the term used to describe high school musical drama clubs in America. Such is the success of the show that it has inspired one Longford lady to set up glee clubs in Longford.

"I became a big fan of Glee over the last couple of years," said Lisa Fox of Edgeworthstown.

Fox has a background in professional song, dance and drama. When she saw the popularity of the Glee television show, she decided to put her credentials to good use and bring glee clubs to Longford and beyond.

"So far it has been brilliant," she said. "It took off straight away and now I am running them all over Longford and in Roscommon and Westmeath."

So what happens during a Glee club class in Longford?

"The classes are for primary school children and take a selection of songs from the actual television show. We then make up our own dance routines and drama scenes. We have solo performances too," said Fox.

From the outset, Glee clubs have proved a huge hit with Longford children. Likewise, they are also proving a huge hit with their parents.

"Generally parents are delighted with their child's growth in confidence. Even the shiest child will walk away with a great level of confidence,” said Fox.

"I don't pretend to parents that kids will be professionally trained singers and dancers. Its more to do with confidence." 
Longford Leader

Gay Weddings

A S;ogp woman has set up a service to help gay couples plan their weddings.

Katy Caldwell of Grange says her new business called Elegant Affairs will support and work with gay couples to ensure they can confidently celebrate the occasion in public.

Ireland’s recent civil partnership laws allow gay couples to be recognized in Law.  Caldwell’s new initiative comes after she and her partner Mary recently celebrated their union in Greece with family and friends.

Explaining the reason for setting up the service she said, “Gay couples can feel hesitant in declaring their relationships in society.