Injection rooms are doomed to failure
The Government’s decision to open injection rooms in Ireland is doomed to failure.
Why is there no public discussion on the failures of injection rooms experienced, for instance, in Norway when they were forced to shut down the facility in Oslo? It is hard to envisage a nurse overseeing a sick addict injecting a poisonous substance into his broken veins. How will the Cork public deal with the public nuisance of street dealing around the site? A detox bed and accommodation should be the priority. How can they know what is contained in the drug bought from a dealer or what has already been injested? How can that be safe? How will the overcrowded emergency departments in Cork’s hospitals cope when addicts collapse after leaving the injection rooms.
Sweden is the most successful EU country in controlling drug use with the lowest numbers of drug users. Shooting Galleries as they are known are not allowed there, Why not engage with Sweden?
Deliver more detox beds for injectors with the funding saved from injection sites. Fund more psychiatric nurses to oversee detox in residential centres thus cutting down on the monopoly of HSE methadone clinics who are not moving addicts on to treatment. As the main drug problem in Ireland is from use of other psychoactive substances injection rooms will not decrease drug use. We need to support and provide intervention to families with early drug users and tackle internet drug sales. Drug courts (as in Belgium) need expanding for non violent drug offenders. Thus cutting down on criminal convictions. Dealing and trafficking must be enforced with support from Minister Frances Fitzgerald to the national drug units.
The new Health Minister Simon Harris shows promise. He talks sensibly of a 10-year plan for health. Perhaps it is time for his department to rethink proposed policies of drug normalisation that have failed elsewhere in a similar way. Public objections to injection rooms in Dublin has forced the minister with responsibility for drug strategy to announce that Cork will be the new destination. It seems like a game of political football.
We must focus on prevention. There are no easy options.
Israeli shoot to kill policy designed to terrorise
I spent seven days in the West Bank Palestine last week visiting areas that included Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin, Bil’in, and Ramallah. I was shocked at the deepening apartheid system I witnessed, especially the infamous wall, 20ft high in many places, which seemed more designed to intimidate, impoverish, colonise lands, and disrupt the lives of Palestinians rather than provide security. Equally shocking was the extent and location of Israeli Jewish settlements which now seem to be designed to facilitate the eventual Israeli annexation of most, if not all, of the Palestinian West Bank. Up to half a million Jewish settlers are now living in lands that were Palestinian lands until 1967, and there is clear evidence that many of these settlements are in the process of being extended, as well as new settlements being constructed, all in clear breach of international laws.
Waterford hospital under the spotlight
I think that Waterford’s John Halligan TD and his supporters may have emulated Icarus and flown too close to the sun. An unwanted side-effect of the Waterford Cardiac Unit saga is that it places the role of Waterford Hospital too much under the spotlight.
Unfortunately as a “regional” hospital Waterford hospital is simply in the wrong place. Residents of West Waterford can go to Cork city hospitals, and Wexford, Carlow and Kilkenny patients can go to Dublin with relative ease.
Safer and faster road networks have made the traditional role of all regional medical centres more open to question.
The nation’s burglars have already demonstrated to us how work practices can change with an improved road network.
Reorganisation of the national hospital network has been discussed for a long time, but with new and better roads we need a new review of complex hospital services to ensure efficiency and value for money.
Media failing to tackle reckless few
The media headlines all day every day are full of complaints about Nama, the homeless, hospital waiting lists, water charges, etc.
These issues are just a part of the consequences of the collapse that gave rise to the bankrupting of the country and the €85 billion bailout in 2010.
They in turn are a consequence of the reckless decisions made by a small number of powerful people at the head of government and financial institutions in the (pre-2009) Celtic Tiger years.
Yet that seems now to be forgotten.
It is ironic that many of the then powerful people who made the reckless decisions during the Celtic Tiger years that bankrupt the country are unchallenged now in the media when they are blaming everyone else about the results of their own actions.
It will take guts to ban hare coursing
“Our land is his land. We never forget that” — so reads the heading over a striking colour picture of an Irish Hare that appears in a Bord na Mona newspaper ad. The message relates to the excellent conservation work that the Board has done onmore than 80,000 hectares of Irish landscape for a multitude of precious flora and fauna.
While I commend this highlighting of the hare’s entitlement to its habitat I wish that Bord na Mona’s concern for wildlife in general and this wonderful iconic creature in particular was shared by our politicians, especially the ones in power.
Successive governments have failed to protect this jewel of our wildlife heritage from deliberate, stomach churning cruelty. Coursing clubs continue to wield a vice-grip on TDs and senators who know only too well that hares can’t vote. In just a few days, at the end of September, another coursing season will commence.
An animal celebrated in Irish folklore, song, and literature will be treated as a mere plaything, a pawn in a grotesque game of chance. In scenes eerily reminiscent of Ancient Rome, fans will roar as each timid creature runs in terror from a pair of blood-crazed dogs.
Hares will dodge and swerve and evade in the tin-pot colosseums, but many will succumb to canine speed and strength.
They’ll be pummelled or mauled or have their brittle bones crushed. And the gamblers will watch the performance unfazed, marking their cards or slugging whiskey.
The Irish Hare is a unique sub-species of the Mountain Hare and a rare survivor of the Ice Age of 10,000 years ago. Lepus Timidus Hibernicus was running free on this island long before coursing clubs or political paddywhackery was ever even heard of.
Some day a government with guts will ban this obscenity that calls itself a “sport”.
Mayo lads found their mojo but they need to find more
Yes indeed, the Mayo lads may have found their mojo last Sunday Ted O’Keefe (Irish Examiner, Letters, September 20), but it’s of no use whatsoever if they lose it on the the October 1 next.
Time to win lads! End of story.
Farming leaders need to get tough on prices paid
Farming organisation leaders need to get into the one room together and get tough on the price paid to farmers.
With record low prices now being paid to farmers on many of the goods they produce it’s now time for farming organisation leaders to protect their members collectively and stop working as representing only their own members.
There needs to be a price structure put in place to protect the farmer’s margin to protect farming. It’s time to say stop to those who are using farming products to generate enormous income and profits for themselves while leaving farmers going into more debt to survive as has been the case this year for many.
Other sectors are protected by minimum wage and farming organisation leaders need to fight and win a structure that delivers for farmers to protect their industry.
It is now time to say farmers have the same right to protect their livelihoods as other sectors already have and for their leaders to enforce that right.