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


However, despite her deteriorating condition, Butler claims she has yet to secure disability allowance which has "driven my family to poverty."

The former cleaner says she has been living without heating for several weeks, which she says leaves her terrified to go to bed each night.

One day last week, she had just three slices of bread in the house which had to last her and her son all week.

"I've never been at such a low point in my life. I've worked all my life but to show you my bare food cupboards and my €2 bank balance, things just can't get any worse,” she said.

“I've sent in all my forms to get disability allowance and I keep getting told there's a delay."

She added: "The worst part of it all is that we cannot afford heat. I'm out of work and relying on a measly sick payment each week. I'm behind in bills.”

The Department of Social Welfare refused to comment.

Evening Herald


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Hospital Jammed

NURSES have reported record overcrowding at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, and have even called on the Health Service Executive (HSE) to activate the major disaster protocols in place for events such as a plane crash at Shannon Airport.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organization (INMO) has appealed for local doctors to be drafted in to help out as almost 100 more patients than the hospital has the capacity to safely care for were admitted.

The hospital is also struggling following an outbreak of the winter vomiting bug, and the HSE has appealed to the public not to attend the emergency department “unless absolutely necessary.”

Nurses said that 10 beds were closed last week due to an infection outbreak, and that the “gross overcrowding” experienced this week was “almost certainly a contributing factor” in the spread of bugs.

According to the INMO, there were 34 patients on trolleys in the emergency department waiting for a bed last Tuesday morning. 

The union’s industrial relations officer for Limerick, Mary Fogarty, said on Tuesday that “additional nursing staff and acute in-patient beds must be prioritized to address this crisis and to prevent a major unavoidable incident.”

“It is incomprehensible that a hospital is allowed to reach such levels of over-capacity which undoubtedly lead to unsafe practices, low standards of care, mistakes and neglect of ill patients.

We are today calling for the HSE to implement the major disaster plan and to call on doctors in the region to attend the hospital to provide any assistance,” she said.

The hospital, she said, was “under the worst pressure ever experienced” despite assurances and reforms promised by the Minister for Health Dr. James Reilly late last year.

Limerick Leader

Text Prevention

THE introduction of a crime preventative mobile phone text alert system has been hailed as the prime catalyst for a near 50% falloff in rural burglaries across north Longford.

Garda (police) insiders revealed the startling reduction barely six months after its official introduction last July.

“We have been delighted with how it has caught on and with the reaction it has generated,” said a source.

According to latest Garda figures, break-ins have declined by approximately 44% across the likes of Dromard, Colmcille and the wider north Longford region.

Under its workings, a homeowner can send an immediate text on their mobile phones to around 500 other households warning them to be aware of suspicious activity or any unfamiliar looking cars that may be lurking in the area.

Longford Leader

Stole for Kids

A MAN who took books, a teddy bear, DVDs and chocolates from two local shops did so because he had no money and wanted Christmas presents for his two daughters, Sligo Court heard.

Maurice Flynn of Rathbraughan admitted taking chocolate bars and DVDs valued at €74.50 from Heaton's, Castle Street, on November 10, and taking books and the teddy bear, valued at €99, from Easons on O'Connell Street on the same date.

Defending solicitor Mark Mullaney said that Flynn was going to meet his children and was anxious, as any father would be, that he would be able to give them presents as Christmas was approaching.

Judge Kevin Kilrane was informed that Flynn had previous convictions and had been given a four month suspended sentence for theft in October 2008.  He had also been fined €100 in October 2010 for an offense in August of that year, €200 in March last for a similar offense in December 2010.