Luke ‘Ming Flanagan MEP
We don’t really expect much. An odd good summer and for the children not to have to take the boat when they’re reared. People are being told that things are getting better. People are not stupid. It’s getting worse.
I had to use a ‘local’ A&E the other night. We got a letter from our GP and headed for our destination with a screaming 7 week old child. Before we left we explained to the baby sitter that our other two daughters were not to use the tap water when brushing their teeth due to it being contaminated with cryptosporidium. We arrived at the hospital at around 7pm to be met by very helpful staff. We got in line. Baby still screaming. After an hour we got to see a very helpful nurse and were then sent back into a waiting room. After another two hours we were brought into an area to see a doctor. Baby still screaming. It was wall to wall with people on trollies. Some had been there for two days.
So what eh! Sure this is normal. After all things are improving! The war zone hospital scene in front my two eyes is this governments idea of improvement. Even Terry “twist it” Prone couldn’t find a collection of words to make this place look acceptable. The people on the trollies looked both sick and sickened. When you are sick you want at least to be buffered from stress. All I could see and feel was stress. Doctors and nurses trying to manoeuvre around a maze of trollies packed into corridors. Howya Ming said one man. “Ashamed” I said. We didn’t need to elaborate. Another man approached me and said “my wife tried kill herself last night with tablets”. The first line of treatment for this couple in unimaginable trauma was to be subjected to even more. Not even a space to themselves. I had felt more dignity the evening I was committed to Castlerea prison.
At this stage we needed to call home as our other two children would be worried. We called but failed as there was no signal. I went out to the middle of the car park until I finally got one but I still couldn’t ring as our baby sitters mobile was out of range. You see unless we leave the phones in one particular part of our house then they can’t be contacted. By the way we live in the middle of a town.
As it turned out our daughter was fine. With cryptosporidium in your water supply you never know. No matter how vigilant you are as a parent there’s always the worry that somehow the child’s bottle has been contaminated. The basic instinct of being able to run something under a tap to give it a clean is turned on it’s head.
We travelled home that night and both my wife and I spoke about the services in this country. You can’t drink the water. If your child does and gets sick then they must endure the torture of an overcrowded understaffed A&E. That’s if you can get there on time. You can’t ring home with news because the phones don’t work. When you try to get to and from the A&E you must put up with diabolical road conditions. When we got up the following morning we sent our children to a school with a pupil teacher ratio so high that crowd control is the best the teacher could possibly achieve. You basically have to teach them yourself when they come home. I pity the committed teachers who are expected to work in these conditions.
I hear the cry from government deputies that it is easy to be in opposition. No it’s not. It’s torture. It’s torture to watch everything falling around our ears while at same time our government tells us things are getting better. We are a warned about the sinister fringe. How much more sinister can it get than the way things are at the moment. While we struggle to provide basic services for our citizens we at the same time continue to bail out the European banking system. The interest alone on the odious bank debt is €1.6 billion per annum. So even when you pay to get services there are cut to the bone because the banker must be paid first.
The last few weeks have been inspirational. I have a hope that people are starting to expect more. Why shouldn’t you? Keep expecting and eventually you will get it. Keep it up. Bring on December 10th and bring this government to its knees. The alternative is to accept that barely surviving is the new thriving. Accept it now and you accept it forever.
(Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland)