Mike O’Connor presenting a cheque for €500 to the Athea defibrillator group on behalf of Athea horse and pony racing committee on Saturday 13th January in the Top of the Town Bar in Athea.

Athea Ladies Football Club

AGM and Church Gate Collection

Athea Ladies Football Club will hold their church gate collection on Saturday 20th and Sun 21st January. All support is greatly appreciated.

The Ladies Football AGM will take place after mass at 8.15pm on Saturday 20th of January in the GAA Clubhouse. All members, players, parents and anyone interested in playing or getting involved with the club are asked to attend.

Sacristan’s Collection

The Sacristan’s collection for Carol will be taken up on Saturday 3rd/Sunday 4th February. Envelopes will be available at the Church doors. Thanks for your continued support.

The Health Problem

Domhnall de Barra

It is that time of year again when the main topic in the news is the state of the health services. Numbers on trolleys waiting for admission to hospital peak as the latest flu virus hits the country and every doctor’s surgery is full. Politicians will  blame each other but nobody has come up with an answer and I am not sure if there is one we can afford. Throwing money at the problem hasn’t worked and each minister in turn has been frustrated by the system. Blaming the minister is not fair. No politician wants to preside over a failing ministry and most of them have tried their best. Mary Harney thought she had the answer when she abolished the regional Health Boards and set up the monster we now know as the HSE. The trouble started straight away when 11 managers, who were now surplus to requirements, couldn’t be let go because of their contracts and were kept in employment on huge salaries to do absolutely nothing. Many hospitals were downgraded and closed throughout the country and now we have a scarcity of beds. Nurses and young doctors are emigrating as soon as they are qualified because of the better pay and work conditions abroad leaving a shortage here. The consultants are a law unto themselves  and cause some of the backlog by taking up private beds in public hospitals. The two tier system is unfair. My wife Noreen had a bad fall at school a couple of years ago and we had to go to  A & E to be admitted to hospital.. We had just got our medical card at the time and the details were taken at the desk. We were told it would be at least eight hours before a bed would be available so we waited amongst the other patients on trolleys, many of whom were elderly and frail. It suddenly dawned on me that we still had some time left on our private health insurance so I notified one of the nurses. Within 10 minutes Noreen was on her way to a bed in a semi-private ward. I was delighted for her but I also felt guilty that we were able to jump the queue  and leave other patients to suffer all night. It might not be a bad idea to once and for all have a clear divide between public and private. Those who can afford private insurance should be treated in private hospitals and there should be no private beds in public hospitals. Consultants  would then have to give 100% of their time if employed in the public hospitals and it would help with the waiting lists.

There is a bigger question in my mind and that is; why are people so sick?  Long ago a trip to the doctor  was a rare occurrence and if the “Croom car” came for someone they were deemed to be at death’s door. (For younger generations: the “Croom car” was the name given to the ambulance that came from the hospital in Croom before the Regional was built).  Children got sick with measles, the mumps, scarlet fever etc. A doctor was never called. They were given hot or cold drinks as the case may be and maybe a mixture of herbs plucked from the  hedgerows around the house. The old people were great for natural cures and knew what to do in any situation. We have lost that ability and now, the minute a child gets a runny nose he/she is taken straight away to the doctor cluttering up waiting rooms that are already full. We are taking medication for everything. The minute a headache comes on  we reach for the bottle of pills when a walk in the fresh air might do the job just as well. We look for antibiotics for the least complaint to such an extent that  we have become immune to them. People got the flu long ago, they spent their few days in bed and recovered. Of course there are occasions when it is necessary to seek medical help but we are often too quick off the mark and are really adding to the overcrowding un-necessarily. We definitely are not as healthy as those that have gone before us. It could be down to diet, lack of exercise and the stress of modern living. Life is too busy and we are running around like headless chickens trying to cram everything into life. Many of us live slightly beyond our means and that brings its own worries and stresses. We have to have the big house, the new car and all the modern conveniences that we perceive will make us happy regardless of the cost. The problem is that,  more often than not, they do not bring us the happiness we crave but rather add to our worries and we end up more stressed than ever. We should work to live and not live to work.  Your health really is your wealth and it should be looked after from the word go. I despair when I see so many children eating sugary sweets and guzzling fizzy drinks. It is a recipe for disaster later in life. And then there is the reliance on fast food. We should know by now how dangerous it is but that does not stop us. I know what I am talking about because I was that soldier. I was eating and drinking all the wrong things for years. Coupled with a lack of exercise the result was  the discovery that I had Diabetes and will now be on medication for the rest of my life. It won’t kill me, if I behave myself but, with a little bit of common sense it could have been avoided. We can help ourselves by making a few small adjustments to our lifestyles and by making sure our children start off on the right foot. Maybe then the clinics will not be so crowded and we won’t need so many hospital beds.