by Pat Brosnan

Transport of the Future

While of course the new electronically powered cars and other transport vehicles are not yet in general use around the country there is now little doubt that these will soon become the preferred transport of the future. Perhaps it will take a couple of decades before the ESB ecars find general acceptance, but when people see the many big advantages of driving electric vehicles the demand will increase dramatically. Of course during the transition period from petrol and diesel powered transport there is certain to be a certain amount of disruption as conventional garages, filling stations and other outlets come to terms with the latest trends and of course the changeover will be phased in gradually. Of course those in the motor trade business and in the present motor fuel sales will have to adapt to the new demands and set up charging stations to replace the present filling stations and their employees will have to become conversant and skilled in the form of technology that will be required to service the electronically generated transport. Hopefully this will not mean wholesale redundancies among those who are at present employed in the motor trade and servicing business or in the sales and servicing of present conventional farming machinery which is likely to last far into the future. Also oil generated motor-bikes, lawn mowers, strimmers, cement mixers and so forth are likely to be oil powered for many years to come, but like washing machines, cookers, microwave ovens, hoovers and other household articles are all being generated by electricity. And so it is most likely to happen that eventually, most of the oil that is at present keeping the wheels running in this country will gradually lose its use and demand as home generated natural electricity gradually takes over. In the words of the famous traditional song “The Horses and Plough” one of its lines went like this “As far away OPEC we richly endow”. If electric power takes over in the future we will no longer be supporting OPEC or any of the major oil companies in the future in the same way that we have been doing in the past. For the present, it would seem that it is only the ESB ecars that are coming into focus and of these there are only comparatively few that have already been purchased in this country – the most of them in Dublin. However, interest is growing and by all accounts, 10 locations have already been earmarked in Limerick City as charging points, which has been done in consultation with Limerick City Council. According to reports ESB e-cars are planning to locate 40 charging points across the city. At present there are just a few hundred electric cars in Ireland and these have been sold by the Nissan Leaf Company. The present selling price is said to be around €35,000 which does not appear to be overly excessive considering that the annual running cost is estimated to be about €250 average at the charging points which would mean about an 80% saving on an average diesel family car.  While the electronic cars will use no combustion power and runs on electricity of 100%, it will be very quiet to steer, there will be no oil, no fumes, no pollution and will be environmentally friendly all the way. The main disadvantage will be the time that it takes to recharge the batteries, particularly when somebody sets out on a long journey, but as this is a comparatively small country, this should not be a major problem either. Yes, indeed, it might take a little longer than the petrol and diesel cars to get from one place to another, but when we think back on the times when our ancestors travelled by coach and horses, or in the most recent times by common car, pony trap and sidecar, or even donkey car and trap, those who were the adults and senior citizens when we were growing up never seemed to worry about time to any great extent. Now finally, a word about my own experience of driving an electronic vehicle in England, while working in Aston Hall Hospital, Aston-on Trent, Derbyshire, some of us were, at the time, working the normal 40 hour week on the nursing staff of the hospital but the Chief Male Nurse, kindly arranged for a few of the married staff with families to work a day or even 2 days in the hospital stores if we wanted to earn extra money. This work was very welcome and indeed enjoyable in the company of the pleasant and friendly store staff and one of my jobs was taking the daily provisions, with the help of a couple of the working patients around to the various villas or wards which were each self-catering. This was done by means of an electronic powered truck which used to be driven by me and which was very easy and comfortable to drive around the few driveways and acres of the hospital grounds.  One of my special memories of those mornings, when we called to Holly (female) Ward was of being given cups of coffee and biscuits there by the Ward Sister who was the wife of Tony Quinn, also a member of the hospital staff, who came from Bunratty and whose father, the late Joe Quinn, was a native of Templeathea. Tony’s Aunt, the late Peg Moran, was a next door neighbour of ours for many years. Another member of staff at Aston-Hall Hospital, at the time, and a good friend of mine, was Sean Doyle, a native of Keady, Co. Armagh and now living in Gloustershire whom we lately learned is a first cousin of Doris Horgan of Athea. So now, to end this little recollection  of my Electric Truck driving days in Derbyshire which also conjured up many other pleasant memories by recalling the old well used slogan “It’s a small world.”



In my article last week on the Norwegian Tragedy it was incorrectly stated owing to a technical error that the terrorist attack on The World Trade Buildings in New York happened in 2011. This, of course should have been 2001.


Tallaght Hospital

According to recent media reports, it has been alleged that there has been a breach of confidentiality regarding patient’s files at Tallaght Hospital which apparently had been sent to the Phillipines for either typing or printing as the case may be. What, one might ask, was the idea by either the Hospital authorities or the HSE in sending these confidential documents to a far foreign country in the first place. Why not employ local, well educated Irish girls to do the job and most likely do it a lot better. Or could it be that the efforts by the HSE to skimp on costs for the sake of the saving of a few Euro is more important than the interests of the patients.


Sewer Projects Postponed

The recent news that Limerick County Council has put the upgrading of the sewerage systems around the county on the long finger has been most disappointing. It now appears that of all  those schemes that had been proposed – only one will be proceeded with. It was promised as far back as 2004 that Athea Sewerage Scheme would be completed by the end of that year. Local people, many of whom are still dependent on septic tanks are still waiting and worst of all no prospects in sight at any rate in the immediate future. Before making any further comments we will have to wait and see what happens in the matter.