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Dear Sir... Readers' Views (06/07/16)

Your letters, your views...

Co-location arguments unfounded

The eight medical and nursing directors who wrote (Letters, June 25) supporting St James’s Hospital as the adult co-location hospital for the proposed new National Children’s Hospital are part of the management and administration structure of the Dublin children’s hospitals. The function of such directors is to manage and plan how services are delivered. It is notable that seven of the eight were appointed since the St James’s site was chosen in 2012. It goes without saying that they would not have applied for these posts, nor would they have been appointed, were they unsupportive of the proposed site location.

Blanket assertions of advantages of co-location such as ”our staff will be supported in the best possible way to deliver improved clinical outcomes” and “no alternative hospital would deliver the multiplicity of benefits to children” are without basis in fact. There is a gaping hole in these arguments — the fact is there is no scientific evidence of clinical benefit to children from such location.

Where are the children who would benefit from co-location with the new NCH and the breadth and depth of service it will provide? They are in the non-co-located maternity hospitals. And that co-location has been kicked down the road for the past ten years.

Children first? My dear colleagues — you’ve got to be joking.

Roisin Healy

Connolly for Kids Hospital Group
Retired Paediatric Emergency Medicine Consultant
Crumlin Hospital
6 Burleigh Mews
Burlington Road
Dublin 4

Planning failure

As the mother of a ‘cardiac’ child who had to be transferred to Crumlin Hospital within hours of birth, I understand at first hand that it is maternity hospital co-location, not adult, that will save children’s lives. I would like the families of Ireland to read the following publicly available observation submitted to An Bord Pleanála.

Planning application PA0043 of 2015 requested permission to build the National Children’s Hospital at St James’s in Dublin city centre. The submission by the Department of Paediatric Intensive Care, in Crumlin, read: “We, whose daily practice involves caring for critically ill neonates, unreservedly support the need for a single, national children’s hospital, and are willing to compromise on many fronts to achieve this goal, acknowledging that no site is ideal.

“Co-location with a physically linked maternity hospital is, in our expert opinion, non-negotiable. We are unwilling to endorse a national children’s hospital on a site that cannot accommodate this truly critical adjacency. To do so would be to fail those infants whom we are entrusted to protect. To proceed with such a project will result in the avoidable death or disability of many new-born babies for years to come.

“It is our earnest wish that the proposal for the St James’s site can deliver such a co-location. If, however, this is not the case, we urge the Board to have the courage and integrity to act accordingly.”

The Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin Prof Mark Redmond, Mr Lars Nolke, Mr Jonathon McGuinness Department of Cardiology, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin Dr Colin McMahon, Dr Orla Franklin, Dr Paul Oslizlok,Dr Kevin Walsh, Dr Damien Kenny,Dr Terry Prendiville The Joint Department of Paediatric Intensive Care Medicine, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin and The Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street Dr Martina Healy, Dr Kevin Carson, Dr Cathy McMahon, Dr Dermot Doherty, Dr Suzanne Crowe, Dr Cormac Breatnach

An Bord Pleanála disregarded this submission as no planning application for a maternity hospital at St James’s was made to it.

Meanwhile, the Rotunda Maternity Hospital is preparing its move to the spacious, accessible Connolly campus in Blanchardstown. It could be co-built more quickly there with the National Children’s Hospital — a co-build that in 2006 the board of directors of Crumlin Hospital requested of the Government because it considered MATERNITY to be the vital co-location - “the first priority and an essential goal”.

That submission, too, was ignored.

Aisling McNiffe

Co Kildare

Post-Brexit borders

Now that Brexit has become a reality and the UK have voted by a small majority to leave the EU, the question now is where does this leave Scotland and N Ireland? A majority in both voted to remain in the EU.

It would appear that Scotland will have another referendum to exit the UK. This raises the question will Scotland then have to reapply to re-enter the EU?

The situation in N Ireland is more complex as they will now have a land border with the rest of Europe. The majority still want to remain part of the UK but assumed that they would still be in the European Union. I cannot see the unionist majority following Scotland’s example, as they are so relying on funding from the rest of the UK and too small an economy to be independent. Also, such a move could be percieved by some as becoming more integrated with the Republic and possibly the first step to a United Ireland.

Mike Mahon

45 Kilvere Pk
Dublin 6w

We need St Paul

The following is an extract from our Mass leaflet on Sunday, June 6, i.e. St Paul actually writing to the Galations (Gal 5:13-18): “My brothers, you were called, as you know, to liberty; but be careful, or this liberty will provide an opening for self-indulgence. Serve one another, rather, in works of love, since the whole of the Law is summarised in a single command; Love your neighbour as yourself. If you go snapping at each other and tearing each other to pieces, you had better watch or you will destroy the whole community.” The UK urgently need a St Paul. Maybe the EU will also need him.

Robert Pierse

Lios Dun
Dromin Upper
Co Kerry

Facilitating cruelty

The disconnect between those who govern our country and the ordinary, decent citizens of this country, and the impact of that disconnect on public policy, has, never been more evident than recently.

Traffic reports were dominated by news of the closure of the Port Tunnel in Dublin to facilitate the rescue of a kitten, and the closure of the M18 in Galway so that a group of ducks could be shepherded to safety. Both closures carried out primarily for reasons of safety, because that sense of decency and compassion innate in most human beings, meant that motorists would take extraordinary risks to avoid harming the defenceless creatures who had strayed into their path.

Now move to Dáil Éireann, where over 100 of our public representatives voted against a bill to outlaw enclosed hare coursing, ensuring that Ireland retains the dubious distinction of being one of only three countries in Europe where this medieval barbarism remains legal. This, despite the fact that every opinion poll carried out on the subject of blood sports has shown a clear majority of Irish people in favour of a ban on both hare coursing and fox hunting.

Our woefully inadequate animal protection laws were embarrassingly on show earlier in the week too when Scottish authorities impounded dozens of month-old pups at Cairnryan Ferry Port — victims of the abuse which is facilitated by the 2010 Dog Breeding Establishment Act which allows man’s and woman’s best friend to be factory farmed for profit.

If public sentiment towards our fellow creatures were to be reflected in our legislation, then it is clear that the abuses described above would not still be legal. Alas it would appear that the three main political parties in this country (Sinn Féin included) are happy to ignore the wishes of the majority of those they represent, and instead continue to pander to the wishes of the well-connected minorities who benefit from this cruelty.

Nuala Donlon

Co Longford

Win for democracy

What is it about ‘liberal’ commentators who rightly champion and insist on freedom of speech and universal suffrage: That is, until there is a change in society which challenges, no matter how minute their way of thinking or their way of life?

Since the Brexit outcome commentators have contested: the age of the voters and the social background of the voters. Throughout the Brexit campaign all the main political parties in the UK — from the Conservatives to Sinn Féin — recommended an IN vote as too did most of the UK business community and the trade unions. In addition, the UK electorate were urged by the Commonwealth countries and a host of foreign Leaders from Barack Obama to Enda Kenny to remain in the EU. Regardless of all this ‘sound advice’ the UK citizens used their democratic right and voted to LEAVE the EU. Over 33 million people (71%) voted. Of these, I suspect millions over the age of 50 voted to remain as did millions of people under the age 50 vote to leave. The same would apply to working class voters and middle class voters and people with white skin and dark skin and the aristocracy too. Also, I suspect there was a mix of reasons as to why people voted the way they did, irrespective of their age, class or ethnic background. What a great display of democracy in action.

Instead of looking for ways to re-run the ballot and undermine democracy, we should admire British democracy regardless of the outcome.

And by-the-way; Britain will survive, Ireland will survive and the Earth will continue to orbit the sun.

Des Hughes

Dublin 13


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