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.

“On such an important occasion when stress can be a feature of organizing any event, this service will ensure that the couple, their family and friends are comfortable and confident throughout the whole celebration.”

She said that while the gay celebration has the same features of a traditional wedding, the service and wording and celebration has features that reflect same sex couples.

“For some couples this celebration may involve having exclusively only gay friends or be inclusive with the couple’s wider circle of family and friends,” Caldwell said.

“Whatever form the celebration takes the services will provide the expertise and ideas that allow couples to confidently celebrate this most fabulous occasion.”
Sligo Weekender

Killed By Wasps

A 47-YEAR-old man died after going into anaphylactic shock following an attack by a swarm of wasps last year at his home near Curraghboy, Co. Roscommon.

Oliver Gacquin had been moving bales of hay when the incident occurred on September 22, 2010.
His wife Rosaleen told the coroner's court in Roscommon that her husband returned home and said he had been stung. He went to have a shower, where he later collapsed.

She attempted to revive him and he was taken to Roscommon County Hospital where he died almost seven hours later.

Consultant pathologist Dr. Birgit Tietz told the court it was not possible to count all of the stings since many were not visible on the skin. She added that the father of two had been in perfect health before being stung.

The coroner, Desmond O'Connor, described the tragedy as unbelievable and unforgettable.
Garda Inspector Fran Nicholson told the court it was the most tragic incident Gardai (police) in Roscommon had to deal with in 2010.

The court returned a verdict of death by multiple organ failure consistent with anaphylactic shock.
RTE News

Meath St. Pat’s Trips

A TOTAL of nine councilors from Meath County Council will be leaving the country for St. Patrick’s Day to take part in festivities in New York and London.

The council speaker, Ann Dillon Gallagher, will lead a delegation of four councilors to New York, while four other councilors will attend the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in London.

The council has a budget of  10,000 for foreign travel and its protocol committee, which met recently, decided that the council should be represented in the two cities. They will be traveling at the invitation of Meath emigrant societies.

When the matter was raised at a meeting of the council on Monday, Fine Gael Councilor Catherine Yore said that she felt that, in the current economic climate, councilors going on these visits should pay their own way.

Trim Town Council is expected to stick with its policy established last year when a decision was made that councilors attending the celebrations in New York or London would pay their way from their own pockets. 
Meath Chronicle

IRAN WATCH - Members of Amnesty International Ireland's Iran group staged a die-in protest on Saturday at St. Stephens Green in Dublin to highlight executions in Iran.