The policy, which will apply to all staff, patients, visitors contractors and anyone who enters the hospital buildings/grounds, will ensure a healthier, safer and cleaner environment for all and better health outcomes for patients and staff.
“As a major provider of health care in the community, our mission is to create a healthy environment for our patients, visitors and employees,” Margaret Swords, group general manager of Louth Meath Hospital Group said.
All efforts are being made to inform patients of this new policy in advance of their admission to hospital. Patients who smoke will be referred to the hospital's free smoking cessation service and will be offered free nicotine replacement therapy during their hospital stay.
MEDICAL staff are refusing to visit patients in Erris because the roads leading to their homes are in such a horrendous condition.
Young babies and the elderly are no longer receiving medical treatment at home due to the state of the roads. And any hope of getting the roads repaired has been quenched now that Local Improvement Scheme (LIS) funding has been cut.
A total of 168 LIS roads in the Belmullet electoral area are awaiting repair, with potholes making some of them almost impassable, says Councilor Rose Conway-Walsh.
"You can't blame the medical staff and people are being asked to leave their homes to be seen. This is putting them at risk, especially in bad weather," she said.
It is understood that An Post is also having problems delivering mail to houses.
The roads haven't been taken over by the council and locals can't afford to keep them in good repair, but as little as €4,000 would bring some of them up to a good standard.
"We're not talking about a big amount of money in most cases," said Conway-Walsh. "There are 168 roads to be repaired and for each of those there might be 20 or more people affected by it.
"It is disgraceful that this government think they can get away with treating rural citizens in this way. It was bad enough the last government cut the LIS scheme from over €80,000 per councilor to €18,000 per councilor in the last couple of years. I cannot do my job as a councilor with both hands tied behind my back."
TWIN calf births in cows aren't especially rare, but triplet births are so rare that a cow in Ballymore has become something of a talking point, after she produced two healthy heifers and one bull calf last week.
"The scan had shown she was expecting twins, but we never guessed that she was going to have triplets," says former councilor Michael Ryan, on whose son Martin's farm at Mullaghchloe, the calves were born last Wednesday night.
Remarkably, all three calves are in top class form and healthy.
Teagasc, the Irish agriculture board, locally has confirmed that triplet births to bovine animals are highly unusual. "I don't think I've ever come across one in Westmeath," said local Teagasc official, Brendan Connolly.
Ryan himself, a farmer all his life, says that for him too, the event was a first. "I'm nearly 80 years farming, and I've seen twins alright a good few times, but I never saw triplets born."
The cow to which the calves were born is a Limousin X, around five or six years old, and the AI straw was from a Belgian Blue bull.
On hand as the calves were born on Wednesday night were local men Liam Gilligan and Tommy
McCormack. "They thought it was just twins -- but when they went back later to check on them, they found that a third calf was born," says Ryan.