Towards 2016
May 7, 2015

But let FG/FF/LAB be, FG are dead and gone,
They’re with DOB/KMPG/IBRC in the grave.
Their hopes of two terms in government gone.
Their secrets of corruption exposed: they’re hidden in the grave.

Catherine Murphy on the rise and spoke out.
Ordinary people are with Murphy on this one.
Catherine Murphy’s and Ireland’s folks together.
FG/FF/Lab/Renua destroy Ireland’s credibility.

Need for an instability government just like the Greeks,
Instability ashes can rise only from the IND’s and Murphy & co,
Instability creates a new Ireland with new ideas/constitution.
Instability is the way forward now,

Stability government (FG/FF/LAB) only breeds contempt and divide/spinning,
Stability government (FG/FF/Lab) breeds insider information and corruption,
Stability government (FG/FF/Lab/Renua) creates jobs for the boys and their own interests not yours,
Stability government (FG/FF/Lab/Renua) not worth voting for in the end (next election),

Let’s bring on new Govt stuffed with Catherine Murphy and likewise IND’s (not deranged Ind’s).
Let us vote for them and see what happens, not SF,

SF only represents Suck and Feed their own chickens not ours,
Again Suck and Feed (SF) jobs for the boys just like FG and FF.
Suck and Feed is their mantra
Suck and feed is like a mini cult with no questions asked.

With Ireland dead and gone,
Let the ashes of 1798 rise again along with 1916 and revive our IND’s
Not corrupted FF/FG/Lab/Renua parties but our people first.
Let our ordinary people rise and vote with their feet.

FG/Lab dead and gone!!!!
They’re with DOB/KMPG/IBRC in the grave.
Their hopes of two terms in government gone.
Their secrets of corruption exposed bare and some hidden in the grave.

Disability Student  May 2015

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What’s going on in the west?
May 30, 2014

There was an interesting exchange in the Seanad yesterday

Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh: Yesterday, the Minister for Health, Deputy Reilly, addressed the Seanad about the reconfiguration of maternity services across hospital groups. He mentioned issues surrounding the procurement of the report which examines this. It has subsequently been brought to my attention that there may be serious repercussions to this statement and the Minister was not fully open or transparent with the information available to him. I understand the report to reconfigure maternity services was commissioned to a company called the Health Partnership, and worker representatives believe the report will result in the closure of maternity centres in Portiuncula Hospital at Ballinasloe and in Letterkenny, with the possible downgrading of other services in the group.

The company was set up by the current chair of the hospitals group, Mr. Noel Daly. Mr. Daly was appointed chair of the group by the Minister, who expressed full confidence in him at the time.

An Cathaoirleach:
I ask the Senator to refrain from naming people on the record of the House who are not here to defend themselves.

Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh: He is the chair of the hospital group in question and involved with the company which produced the report. It would appear there may be a major conflict of interest in the commissioning of the report, and the Minister must make a clear statement that the report is to be withdrawn completely, with Mr. Daly to review his position as chair of the board. When appointing chairpersons to the hospital group, the Minister identified a number of key responsibilities, including ensuring compliance with the code of practice for governance of State bodies, undertaking an assessment of the composition, competency, profile and potential conflicts of interest—–

An Cathaoirleach: The Senator cannot make allegations against people. Is there a question?

Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh: I am stating what the Minister has said.

An Cathaoirleach: Is there a question for the Leader?

Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh: I have a number of pertinent questions for the Leader. The person in question, the chair of the north-west hospital group, set up the company in 2004 and also appeared to be involved in plans to develop the €75 million Wyndale Clinic which was to be located on the grounds of Letterkenny hospital.

I have some serious questions to be addressed by the Minister. I propose an amendment to the Order of Business that the Minister come to the Seanad today to answer these questions. Does he agree that the report into the reconfiguration of maternity services in the west and north west cannot be relied upon as independent and fully accountable, and will he ask for it to be withdrawn immediately? Does the Minister feel the chairman of the group should review his position? What is the nature of the relationship between the Minister and the chairman of the west and north-west hospital group?

An Cathaoirleach: That is completely out of order as you are reflecting on an individual.

Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh: What connection, if any, does the chairman have with Fine Gael?

An Cathaoirleach: I could rule the amendment out of order if the Senator continues.

Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh: It is very important as the Minister was not forthcoming when he had an opportunity yesterday to address these issues. He brought up the procurement issue but he did not give us the full information he should have. We have seen decisions taken with Ballinasloe—–

An Cathaoirleach: What is the proposed amendment?

Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh: I ask that the Minister comes before the House to give us a full, frank and transparent report on the issues surrounding procurement of the report which considers the reorganisation of maternity services in the west and north west, as well as any matters around the chairmanship of the board. What is the appointment process for the chairpersons of boards? Was that process carried out through public appointment? I understand it was not.

Here are some extracts from an excellent article by Marie O’Connor. It gives a very clear picture of what began under Micheál Martin and Mary Harney. A destruction of public services in the pursuit of profit which has moved up several gears under doctor, minister and businessman James Reilly.

Beaumont Hospital recently announced that it was closing one operating theatre a month on a rolling basis. Yesterday the HSE admitted that it might have to close the Lourdes maternity unit altogether because of a shortage of doctors. Despite the fact that in many specialties we have a dire shortage of medical consultants, plans are afoot to slash the number of doctors in training by 900 –– around one quarter of the current total.

By last December, almost 2 500 graduate nurses had applied for work abroad because of the ban on recruitment. Our GP ratio is one of the worst in Europe, our bed to head ratio – the number of acute public hospital beds per head of population–– one of the worst in OECD countries.

Not content with this level of scarcity, the government plans to close small-to-medium sized public hospitals across the country. Mullingar Hospital is one of them, as is St Luke’s, Ireland’s specialist centre for cancer care for many decades…That Bill has just gone through its second stage in the Dáil. Last week the HSE denied that 24 beds had been closed permanently at Naas General Hospital. These are just some of the 1 200 public hospital beds closed across the country, according to the nurses and midwives’ union. They say the numbers on trolleys are now at their highest since 2007, when the body count was declared a ‘national emergency’.

HSE also denies plans to cut hospital A&E department to ‘office hours only’. We are just two weeks away from D-Day, when ‘junior’ hospital doctor contracts expire. Only on 1 July will it become clear if Naas Hospital will continue to have a full-time A&E service. Hospitals in Ballinasloe, Castlebar, Tralee and Letterkenny are in the same boat.

We are now facing the biggest closure of beds and services since the public hospital asset-stripping of the 1980s. Our public health system is being stripped out by stealth under the banner of ‘transformation’. Like‘reconfiguration’ and ‘reform’, these are weasel words for Government bed-cutting programmes

[…]

The privatisation of public administration is reaching ridiculous lengths. The decision on the location of the planned new hospital in the north-east was outsourced to a firm of private consultants, the Health Partnership. The firm has two principals: one of them is Noel Daly, a former CEO of An Bord Altranais. His firm has advised on at least seven developer-led health care projects in Ireland, including the Vista Primary Care Centre in Naas. Entrusting such a sensitive decision as where to locate a regional hospital to a company with such a strong profile in the private sector raises the possibility of conflicts of interest. In the event, the Health Partnership decided to locate the new hospital in Mr Daly’s own home town.

[…]

Health ‘reform’ is synonymous with privatisation. It is driven, not by evidence, but by ideology, belief in a model that has failed spectacularly in the last couple of years, the market model. Privatisation requires the closure of public services. Strategic management has produced reports and devised tactics, such as the cancer and chronic disease stratagems, all dovetailed to secure public service cuts. These cuts create business opportunities for powerful interests that serve commercial needs, not patient welfare.

Our health system, I believe, is being recast in an American mould. We are witnessing a massive experiment driven, not by science, but by greed. The walls of the public health system are being pulled down from within. Cost cutting is now being used to drive transformation, and transformation, as we have seen, is a Trojan Horse crammed with private for profit soldiers

 

So who or what is Health Partnership?

The website doesn’t offer much. Plenty of management speak but it all feels a bit for show really.  In fact, if you check the address provided they don’t even have an office. The one listed, 6/9 Trinity Street, Dublin 2, Ireland, is owned by this service –

Having a business address helps present a more professional image. Your business will be perceived as being bigger/more substantial which helps open doors when dealing with larger companies. It can also be useful when trying to win business in Dublin if you are based outside of the county or country. For instance, Dublin customers may be more comfortable doing business with companies who have a Dublin presence themselves.

A professional Business Address costs a fraction of an actual office and there are no hidden fees. You get all the benefits of a prestigious business address without the associated costs or hassle. The main benefit is no crippling overheads in the form of rent / rates / utility charges for office space. We can also offer meeting room hire, daily office hire on a “pay as you go” basis at your address.

Not bad for a company presiding over the potential closure of regional hospitals no?

They were also part of the “private consortium” involved in the new children’s hospital in 2008.

Their actual name is D & F Health Partnership Limited and Daly, while a founder, is no longer listed as director. He and founding/current Health Partnership director Deirdre Foley were also directors of Meret Healthcare, which was set up in 2007 “to build a network of primary healthcare centres across the country”. That is property speculation and rent seeking to me and you.

Meret Healthcare is a new, dynamic Irish company, providing specialist property services, and much more, to the primary health care sector in Ireland.

Drawing on a wealth of expertise and international experience, Meret intends to build a network of primary healthcare centres across the country, in partnership with established General Practitioners.

The centres will provide opportunities for the Health Service Executive to establish primary care teams, to bring new services to local communities, and to make health policy happen.

We believe that each Primary Healthcare Centre will become a one stop shop for all primary care services in the community, and we encourage local healthcare providers to relocate to our centre.

If you are a General Practitioner, Chiropodist, Dentist, Dietician, Occupational Therapist, Optometrist, Pharmacist, Physiotherapist or Podiatrist, we can supply you with modern practice facilities, and give you the opportunity to work with other clinicians.

But wait, there’s more.

They are also joint directors two entities, something called North West Healthcare Development Company Limited and another, North West Healthcare Investment Company.

Health Partnership also made a submission to the Dept of Finance on ‘tax exemption and high earners’ in 2005

Mr Daly departed both Health Partnership and Meret Healthcare in April 2012. Two months before he was appointed to the role of Chair the Galway Roscommon University Hospital Group by James Reilly.

The term of the appointments is for three years and the boards of the groups will be established initially on a non-statutory basis.

The two new hospital group Chairmen, working in consultation with the Chair of the Strategic Board, will have key roles in the development of effective corporate and clinical governance structures for the groups along with the quality and safety of systems of care in place for patients of the hospital groups. Central to this will be overseeing the implementation of the relevant recommendations of the HIQA report in relation to Tallaght Hospital.

The Minister identified a number of key responsibilities for the Chairmen including:-

  • Ensuring compliance with the Code of Practice for Governance of State Bodies,
  • Undertaking an assessment of the composition, competency profile and potential conflicts of interest of potential board members and making the necessary changes required to ensure that the board is constituted appropriately and in accordance with modern day corporate governance of boards,
  • Mandatory board induction programme for new board members and mandatory on-going development programme for board members which the Department will address this at a national level,
  • Clear definition of the role and function of the board;,
  • Oversight of the building of strategic partnerships with other key stakeholders so that the organisation does not operate in isolation of the national and local system for delivery of care and support to its population, ensuring that a clear scheme of delegation of accountability from the board to the Chief Executive and executive directors is designed, taking account of the interim accountability arrangements put in place by the HSE to manage the transition towards the establishment of the independent, competing Trusts planned as part of the programme for government,
  • Ensuring that there are annually agreed objectives in place for the Chief Executive that accurately reflects the realm of their accountability, responsibility, and authority.

The Minister believes it is essential that the business of the board is conducted in an open and transparent manner with the maximum amount of its meetings held in public by June 2013 including an Annual General Meeting in public from 2013. He has also instructed that a self-evaluation of the board should be carried out and arrangements should be in place to facilitate staff to raise concerns about the quality and safety of patient care and for consideration of information provided by external sources, including patient advocates, in relation to the delivery of safe care to patients.

Speaking of the appointments, the Minister said “the leadership skills, knowledge and experience these three gentlemen bring to these important roles will be invaluable. I wish them well in these important roles and assure them of my support. They will be supported and overseen in their endeavours by the Special Delivery Unit in my Department”

 

Ó Clochartaigh yesterday said that Reilly mentioned “issues surrounding the procurement of the report”.

Here is what the minister said

The review of maternity services undertaken by the west-north west hospitals group included the maternity units at Portiuncula Hospital Ballinasloe, Mayo General Hospital, University Hospital Galway, Sligo Regional Hospital and Letterkenny General Hospital. While the draft report presents various options for service reconfiguration, I understand the report does not recommend any option in particular.

I am aware that an issue has arisen, however, concerning the commissioning of the review of maternity services on behalf of west-northwest hospitals group. At the request of the director general, the HSE internal audit unit has undertaken a review and established that the procurement of services was not in accordance with HSE national financial regulations.

I further understand that the director general has written to both the hospitals group chairperson and the chief executive officer outlining his concerns, seeking to ensure the recommendations of the audit unit are implemented and that there will be no further breaches of procurement rules. I am satisfied this operational matter is being dealt with appropriately by the HSE working with the chief executive officer and the group board and that any issues will be resolved in that context.

So..

1) The west-worthwest hospitals group  (Galway, Letterkenny, Mayo, Merlin Park, Portiuncla, Roscommon, Sligo) appear to have procured services in a way “which was not in accordance HSE national financial regulations”.

2) The services were provided by a company called Health Partnership, a company founded by the ministerially appointed chair of the west-northwest hospitals group.

3) According to Ó Clochartaigh, the report will result in the closure of maternity centres in Portiuncula Hospital at Ballinasloe, Letterkenny, and possible downgrading of other services in the group.

4) The ministerially appointed chair of the west-northwest hospitals group is also deeply involved in the development of private healthcare clinics, primary care centres and the property that is at the very heart of so much of it.

Dr.FIVE  30 May 2014

Fine Gael + Labour Report Cards …….. a Spectacular Performance
March 6, 2013

Enda did promise us Report Cards on the performances (or no) of individual Government Ministers. Surprise, surprise, that promise has fallen by the wayside; but never fear I’ve gone and went and done a couple of Report Cards of both partners in Government.

Enda did promise us Report Cards on the performances (or no) of individual Government Ministers. Surprise, surprise, that promise has fallen by the wayside; but never fear I’ve gone and went and done a couple of Report Cards of both partners in Government.

Andrew49   6.3.2013

One Last Chance for Enda to Provide Justice for the Women Who Were Shut Away in the Laundries
February 17, 2013

I’ve just read the Justice for Magdalene’s redacted submission to the McAleese committee.  It has been released to balance and correct some impressions conveyed by the McAleese report. None of the hundreds of pages of accounts of individual women was quoted by McAleese. I haven’t read McAleese’s report yet, and plan to give it a try today – although at 1,000 pages it will have to be a fast read.

The Press and some politicians and commentators are using the McAleese Report to say that the laundries were “not like the films.” McAleese interviewed 50 women, the rest of the Committee did not meet any. They had no remit to investigate the treatment of the women in the laundries or to make findings on this. The first thing to remember about the McAleese Report is that the brief was to investigate State links with the laundries, not to explore what went on inside them.   All of the Committee members bar McAleese were civil servant representatives of implicated State Departments. McAleese who has close associations with the Church, resigned his position as Senator and left Ireland without making himself available to the press to answer questions on his report.  

The Justice for Magdalene’s earlier reports show the State’s role, and were in part what forced the Government to act. The State was responsible by reason of its neglect of its duties to inspect and to protect citizens from illegal incarceration and brutality. It also paid capitation money in to the laundry system for some women, provided contracts to it, and directly sent women into the laundries, and returned them if they escaped, without investigating if they were held legally. It has taken 10 years of research and campaigning, and a number of women in the meantime have died waiting, with no redress, some in very poor circumstances. One of the women who spoke out last year has lung cancer, and did not expect to see the report come out. Now she is waiting still for an apology and some redress.

Some of the things that stick in my mind from the many accounts in the JFM report and that very much contradict the Enda Kenny/McAleese version of the laundries –

The laundries were locked jails, with barred windows, with no daylight in some cases, little or no access to out of doors. They were cold and often wet. The work was heavy and dangerous. Many women got burns and other injuries.

The girls and women had inadequate diets – porridge for breakfast and supper, a small lunch with little protein, an egg once a year at Easter, occasional pieces of fruit on “special days.” An account mentions that women rooted in bins for nuns leftovers. They were very thin. People talk about fainting from hunger.

Women were not told when or how they would get out, and many never did get out.

Their names were taken off them and a number or penance name given to them.

They were told they were “there for their sins” although some had no idea why they were there at all. Young children as young as 11 were put in the laundries and a lot of them were young women. They were verbally insulted and abused.

Some women were put there because of ill health – lameness, epilepsy, mental disability.

They were not allowed to speak during the long work hours. They worked six days a week in the laundries: after hours they worked making small goods for sale by the nuns, and cleaning.Women were beaten with belts and hit with heavy bunches of keys for “faulty work” and for “cheek” and in some cases severely beaten for running away or for being found in bed with another woman. They were also punished by having their hair cut “to the bone” and by having to kneel and kiss the floor.   Solitary confinement was a punishment. Women were physically forced to work even when ill.    Enda Kenny however told the Dáil that physical abuse was not an issue.

Some girls and women who were resistant of this abuse and bullying or in other ways “difficult” were sent to mental institutions where they were incarcerated and in some cases died, unreleased.

There was an atmosphere of fear: women cried at night in bed. Women had nervous breakdowns and suffered from depression. Some became severely institutionalised. At least one is still living in an institution / care – would have liked her own room, but never had one. Reported problems of not getting dentures and associated weight loss. This seems to be current ?

They were not ever paid.

The young ones got no education. They had no books, newspapers, or radio and didn’t know what was happening in the outside world.

A horror that sticks in my mind – a account of a woman (likely not the only one) who was born in a laundry institution, grew up in it and who died in it.

Another account mentions a woman who sat at one end of the Church at High Park, while her daughter, elsewhere in the institution, sat at the other, without them ever knowing they were living in the same place.

A woman who got out for a day when she was 45 to meet her grown up child had never before tasted coffee, or handled money. She didn’t know her own age, but was told by her children. She died aged 51. (source: from the JFM FB page)

When the women died, there was no death certificate in many cases, and they were put in a mass grave with no name marker and no priest present, no funeral rites.

The State was very much aware of the laundries, was aware of issue of wages and its obligation to inspect and to safeguard basic rights of citizens. It failed catastrophically in relation to the laundries and in fact colluded in stripping women of their rights.

Women were in some cases sent for petty theft (an apple, stolen in an industrial school, is one example), for staying out late, or being rebellious generally.  Some had had children outside marriage.  Others had disabilities. Some had grown up in institutions. If they ran away, Gardai returned them.

The Secretary of Carlow County Council signed an order to incarcerate a married woman in a laundry and send her baby to a babies home, as the child was believed not to be her husband’s. This was in 1956 (As a side note, I know of a case in the 1990s,  in which Gardai in this area turned away a woman who went for help as she was repeatedly beaten at home: they informed the husband they she had complained).

The issue is not to me about who sent women to the laundries. Enda Kenny, McAleese and the press are busy trying to foist the blame for the laundries onto families. This is a particularly toxic and self serving argument. The State has obligations to citizens and residents irrespective of failures of families.

Abuse is an illustration of that.

Some girls /children who had been abused were locked into the laundries. One woman told of how as a young teenager she went to the Gardai and repeatedly asked them to act against her father who was raping her (her mother had died). They refused on a number occasions, but when they did act it was to incarcerate her in a laundry.

Women ended up in the laundries via state schools and institutions, via the courts, via parish priests and families. Families were under enormous social pressure from current “morals” and social stigma enforced by Church and State, and from poverty.  The Laundries were punitive institutions, part of a gulag of social control, that exerted fear and pressure on all girls and women to modify their behaviour and to comply with a rigid, brutal and hierarchical social norm.

The thinking that the State can avoid its responsibilities and push them off onto onto families, no matter how dysfunctional or disadvantaged, still goes on.

This matter will come up before the Dáil again on Tuesday.  Again, Enda Kenny has the opportunity to apologise, and make redress for the appalling acts of omission and commission by our State in relation to the Laundries.  

There will be a lobby/picket of the Dáil from Tuesday 1 p.m. 19.1.2013  until the debate is over.
Anyone who would like to go along would be welcome.   The women and support campaigners who have brought things to this stage and who have refused to be silenced deserve every support.

POST SCRIPT Justice for Magdalenes and supporters will be gathering at the Dail Tuesday 19th February for a candlelit vigil from 5 p.m. Please come, and bring a candle. 🙂 The debate starts on the Magdalene laundries starts at 6 p.m.

C. Flower  17.2.2013

Roses are red….
February 14, 2013

 

 

 

 

Dr. FIVE  14 February 2013

Another Re-shuffle of the Cards for Fine Gael
December 14, 2010

Yep – we’re an interesting situation alright – it would appear that the cards are being reshuffled every week.

From a partisan political point of view – we in FG are just interested spectators in the stalls eating popcorn looking on at the potential realignment of the left of centre irish political world. Finally, finally, after me banging on about here and at other places for the last 3 years – the left are showing a bit of unity showing some cop-on and going after the soft populist underbelly of FF – I’ve been waiting for this to happen for ages.

Sinn Fein have a real opportunity here – even more than the Labour party IMHO – its because they vaguely look like the young Fianna Fail – the Fianna Fail that got into power in the 1930s with the whiff of military chic, populist quasi socialist policies and platform, wrapped in the nationalist flag. its a potent mixture, especially in a country largely populated by moany whingy dreamers who think the world owes them a living, that adores gesture politics, and is desperately looking for the “stroke” or placebo that is going to get them out of the current mess consequence free. I dont think Gerry Adams is going to be much a star, positively or negatively for Sinn Fein this time around.

Fianna Failers I know are sh^ttin themselves at this – they’ve no more goodies to bribe the electorate with and they’ll only look silly trying to resurrect the bogeyman in the balaclava – for the majority of FFs centre left vote – that is no longer an issue now – for those for whom it is – they are starting and will be migrating in quite considerable numbers over to Lab and FG – the FF vote will be even further squeezed if SF continue to rise.

Labour are in a bit of bind – they’ve made a lot of hostages to fortune here – drift further to the centre and they’ll lose a lot of their left vote to SF and the various socialists outfits – drift a bit towards the Sinners and the public service vote and middle clas might take a fit of the wobbles and trickle towards FG – it will be interesting to see how Labour square this circle – their lack of coherent policy and non-committments was going to catch up with them some time.

For us in FG – our vote is pretty solid at about 30% – its not going to go very far in either direction from that – Sinn feins rise has secured that. people know where we stand – we’re the boring party poopers who dont drink – but we’ll still be expected to drive everybody home afterwards and come back and clean up after the party – seems to be our raison d’etre now.

As regards coalition partners – if we get 65 seats plus – which is well within our power now and FF get 20 odd seats – my preference would be for a coalition with the remmants of FF – it wont be popular – FF themselves probably would run a mile from it- it would death staring them straight in the face – but, long term, it would be the final nail in the coffin of FF – in This budget FF have kicked the can further down the road on a lot of issues – particularly property taxes and utility charges – these will have to come into force at some stage – for the good of our democracy because local government needs to be funded locally to have any power locally – FF are hoping that the populist outcry over this would set them up nicely to recover by 2016 – my preference would be to essentially handcuff FF to rear fender of the FG car and drag them along with us each step of the way on the rocky road that they have designed and built themselves – thus hopefully by 2016 – the economy will be in better shape – the dail and political system reformed , the senate either abolished or reformed- local government reformed and the IMF sent home with the country off life support and back on its feet again – we’ll get no thanks for it of course – such is the way for FG – but at least Lab and SF will sweep into power in 2016 and FF will be no more –

I’ve no fears for SF in government in 2016 – like FF they’ll be full of fire and brimstone in opposition but once they get behind the wheel, like all socialists, they’ll be out to prove to the markets that they can be even better capitalists than the right wingers – happens all the time – whether a coalition between themselves and labour would last is another thing – but it would be interesting and give the country a semblance of a left/right divide that it so badly needs and allowing the last of the Fianna Fail crony vintage of 1997-2011 drain out of the government and electoral systems.

Interesting times ahead indeed.

Edo 10. 12. 2010

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