Athea Communion Class 2015 with their teacher Jean Hayes and Parish Priest Fr. Bowen and Canon Kelly

Athea Communion Class 2015 with their teacher Jean Hayes and Parish Priest Fr. Bowen and Canon Kelly

Athea Children’s Drama 

Present their show and plays ‘Alice in Blunderland’ and  ‘The Sleepover’ at Con Colbert Hall on Saturday, July 4th and Sunday, July 5th at 7pm. Everybody welcome to come along and support the children.

Killeaney AFC 40th anniversary Celebrations 

Killeaney AFC is celebrating its 40th anniversary on the weekend 3rd to 5th July with music, raffles and spot prizes at the Knockdown Arms on Saturday night. Special guest is John Delaney, CEO of the FAI. A buffet will take place on Saturday night in a marquee erected for the weekend. Tickets at €25 each are available from club members. Come along for the celebrations and the music plus the spot prizes on offer. There is a special door prize of a break for two in Galway.

“What’s Wrong With Us?”

Today marks the beginning of the free medical care for under sixes. While it is a lovely idea it beggars belief that, at a time when the health service is strapped for cash and there are so many people who are in greater need for care, children from well to do families are being prioritised. A bit like the children’s allowance scheme, there is no distinction made between those who can and can’t afford to pay. Free medical care for all is what we should have but at the moment we just cannot afford it. To complicate matters  about 40% of GPs in the country have not signed up for the scheme which will cause problems for people living in certain areas. There are some legitimate fears that surgeries around the country will now by filled with under sixes with little more than a runny nose, just because it is free. As Oliver Hardy used to say “that’s another fine mess you’ve got me into”. Let us be blunt; the health service is in a bad way, totally unable to cope with the demand for hospital services. In the last few years I have had occasion to witness conditions in A&E for myself. I was sent by my doctor when I had a severe pain in the back of my leg. Having checked in at the Regional Hospital I sat on a chair throughout the whole day waiting to be seen by a doctor. There was a very elderly man who was there at roughly the same time and he also had to wait with a nasty looking wound to his head. Having at last gone through the doors the treatment I got was second to none. I have nothing but the highest praise for the doctors and nurses who made me feel special and looked after me with a smile even though they must have been run off their feet. At least I was able to go home on a pair of crutches but had I needed to be admitted I would have faced at least another 24 hours on a trolley. Things haven’t improved since then, as a matter of fact I am reliably informed that waiting times have increased.

Why are A&Es so crowded, indeed why is every doctor’s surgery in the country full every day? When I was young a doctor was never called unless it was absolutely necessary and if the ambulance, or the “Croom Car” as it was known in those days, was called to a house people blessed themselves because the person was in a really bad state if it was necessary to go to hospital. There is something badly wrong with our health. Maybe it is what we are eating or how much we are eating. Maybe it is our modern lifestyle, I don’t know but every second person you meet is on some kind of medication.  I have experienced the health service in England which is free. There were no waiting lists and a doctor was available at all times. Trolleys on corridors were unheard of so what is wrong here? I am no medical expert but when I see what young people of today are eating I worry for their future. They are constantly drinking fizzy, sugary drinks and eating crisps, bars and sweets at an alarming rate. Surely there is damage being done at a time when their bodies are only developing. Could more be done to help children to change their habits and eat healthily at school maybe or in the home. Unlike in my childhood, all the advice  needed is now at the touch of a button so parents should educate themselves first and then pass it on to the children. The government too could help by banning harmful “treats”.  It is a bit drastic but will save money and lives in the future. On a positive note, the news on smoking is much better. I was in a room full of people recently (nearly 40) when we were asked if any of us had a lighter or matches to light the candles on a birthday cake. Nobody had.  It transpired that not even one person in the company was a smoker. The chances of that happening a few years ago  are very slim indeed. Maybe the message is finally getting through. Let’s hope so.

Domhnall de Barra