AN 86-year-old man who was told by staff at South West Acute Hospital he needed surgery at Altnagelvin in Derry was also told there was no ambulance available to take him there. The patient, described as being in extreme pain, was forced to find his own way to Derry.
The pensioner, from Fivemiletown, was taken to the South West Acute Hospital in the town and, when he was told the following day, he would have to undergo surgery the nurse also told him an ambulance was unavailable and he had to travel up to Altnagelvin himself.
Assembly member Lord Maurice Morrow said, “His elderly wife was contacted, and she was frantic trying to arrange transport. She doesn’t drive, and trying to get transport organized at such short notice and under incredible pressure to meet a slot for surgery was distressful for both.”
The incident took place last week, and, since then Morrow has been attempting to make contact with members of the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS). When he managed to get in contact, he said they assured him that the matter would be investigated.
“Just imagine the circumstances of two elderly people, one of whom is weak, in pain and requiring surgery, the other beside herself with worry and put under undue stress, having to arrange their own transport to ensure important surgery is able to proceed. Neither of them should have had to go through this trauma at what was already a very worrying time,” Morrow added.
The NIAS confirmed that an investigation is ongoing.
Older Tourists Spend More
TOURISTS in Lahinch are getting older, it is claimed, as emigration takes its toll on visitors to the North Clare resort. This could well account for the fact that an increase of up to 30 percent in visitors to Kilkee this summer compares to a more modest three percent increase in Lahinch.
Kilkee business representatives have mixed reports in terms of the extent of tourism spend in the town, while the influx of people to Lahinch during the exceptionally good weather was not matched by a corresponding rise in revenue. Overall, the North Clare resort has seen a decrease in spending.
As the summer season draws to a close, Irish Hotels Federation president Michael Vaughan said there has been a change in the demographic of visitors to the Lahinch area. He noted a rise in the number of retired people visiting and a marked decrease in the number of young people coming to the resort for weekends.
“From looking around, I would say there are a lot more visitors in the over-55 age group or active retirement groups. Of course, they are the people who have some money to spend at the moment. There are definitely less younger holidaymakers. They seem to have emigrated,” said Vaughan.
“Emigration has taken its toll on the younger, partying-type tourists that would have come to the village in the past. Emigration is definitely a factor.”
Vaughan pointed out the good weather during July brought an influx of people to Lahinch, but this has not been matched by a corresponding rise in revenue.
“By and large, visitors to the area are up on previous years but not much more than two to three percent overall for the summer. The high season has been good, especially July and August but the earlier part of the season was down,” he said.
“There were lots of families here over the summer and I think surf schools did well but, anecdotally, the spend is down. Lots of day-trippers are bringing their own picnics, whereas before they would have had their lunch in pubs or restaurants locally. There are people coming to Lahinch but they are on a budget. Admission at attractions is good but the spend is not as high as it used to be and that has to be expected,” he said.
The Clare Champion
FUNERAL eulogies are to go in the Meath Diocese after a statement by Bishop Michael Smith concerning the “dumbing down” of the funeral Mass and rites.
From now on appreciations or eulogies by family members or friends of the deceased should not take place in the church but may take place after the Rite of Committal in the cemetery or when the family and friends gather.
“Secular songs, poems and texts devoid of a Christian content are out of place in the funeral liturgy,” Smith said.
“A post-Communion reflection of a prayerful nature can be given after Communion but this should be agreed beforehand with the celebrant and should not be used as a cloak for a eulogy. As is clear from the directives on the Funeral Rite, the deceased should not be canonized in the homily.”
Visiting priests officiating at a funeral will be informed of the regulations and asked to abide by them.
“It is important that undertakers in your area are aware of these regulations. It is also important that clear arrangements are in place on the signing of books of condolence. Some priests expressed the view that they should not be allowed in the church,” Smith added.
Clear arrangements, allowing people the opportunity to offer sympathy to the family of the deceased, will also be put in place in each parish.
Hoax Fire Calls
LIVES are being placed in danger by pranksters as nearly one in every five alarm incidents Wicklow Fire Services responds to proves to be a hoax call.
From 2007 to 2011, 17 percent of false alarms made to the Wicklow Fire and Rescue Service turned out to be a hoax, while the remaining 83 percent of false call-outs were well intended.
Deputy Andrew Doyle has condemned the prank callers who knowingly report false incidents, warning that they are potentially putting the lives of others in danger, while also wasting taxpayers' money.
“Between 2007 and 2011, more than 30,000 false alarm calls were made throughout the country to fire services. In Wicklow alone, 761 call-outs were made, with 130 of them turning out to be a hoax.
This unfortunately means that when genuine calls come in from assistance from the fire service, their emergency response may be unnecessarily delayed,” he said.
“There is no doubt the true scale of this problem is finally coming to light. These hoax calls are putting severe strain on local authority services. Every year, thousands of call-outs are requested by the public to the fire service. While an exact figure can't be put on the cost of these malicious calls, a conservative estimate would be tens of thousands.
“Measures now need to be brought forward to tackle those who make hoax and malicious calls to this emergency service.”
Statistics for 2012 will be available later this year, and Doyle wants every effort made to ensure those partaking in hoax calls are tackled.
“It will be interesting to see if this level of hoax calls continues. If so, I will be seeking for the minister to bring forward measures so those who put an additional wasteful burden onto the fire service are dealt with appropriately through penalties and other means,” he said.
Coke Is It
COCA-Cola is the biggest selling brand in the Irish grocery market for the ninth year in a row.
The Checkout Top 100 brands report from Checkout magazine and Nielsen puts dairy company Avonmore in second place, with Brennan's Bread coming in third.
Lucozade comes in at fourth position, while Cadburys' Dairy Milk re-enters the top five, knocking Tayto down to number six. 7Up, Jacobs, Walkers and Danone complete the Top 10.
The annual Checkout Top 100 is the most definitive list of the biggest selling brands in the Irish grocery industry by value sales.
It uses MarketTrack and Scantrack data to get a full read of sales in the supermarkets, convenience stores, discounters and independent shops.
Checkout also notes the big movers in this year's list, with Innocent rising 23 places since last year to sit in 30th position. Yogurt brand Muller rises six place to 20th, while Glenisk rises 13 places to 39th.
Pringles moves up 11 places to 34th place following its takeover by Kellogg’s last year. The brand is actually the best performing brand in the Kellogg's portfolio, ahead of Special K at 78th place and Cork Flakes at 79th place, Checkout noted.
The list also shows that the frozen ready meals (meat) category dropped 11 places to 89 after the horsemeat scandal earlier this year.