Offenders will be smoked out, warn health officers
ENVIRONMENTAL health officers in Mayo are promising a "tough but fair" implementation of the new smoking regulations in the region following their introduction at midnight on Sunday. Mr. Cathal Kearney, Principal Environmental Health Officer (P.E.H.O), has warned that blatant breaches of the law will not be tolerated. "From the outset we will tolerate no stated intention to break the law or any encouragement of customers to break the law", Mr. Kearney stated."We will bring people to court sooner rather than later". Environmental health officers said that any business people who take reasonable steps to comply with the new legislation – which provides for fines of up to 3,000 euro- need not be fearful. "We are not going to try to catch people out", Mr. Kearney explained. "If people do their best to enforce the new legislation they need not worry. We are prepared, however, to take on any businesspeople who blatantly state and practice non-compliance". Mr. Kearney said his team of health officers will be visiting each of the 600 or so licensed premises in Mayo over the coming months. "I believe that with 19 staff working on a rota working day and night and at weekends we will get around to all these premises fairly soon. The objective was to allay concerns and answer questions, Mr. Kearney said "I am hopeful these concerns can be laid to rest. We are looking for people to co-operate with us. Mr. Kearney said the vast majority of people supported the ban and called on this "silent majority" not to remain silent and give vocal encouragement to proprietors and persons in charge of premises who were implementing the new legislation.
Presumably by the time the next edition of the Connaught Telegraph is published we will know whether the smoking ban has been a success or not. I suspect it will be a roaring success and will not materially affect the turnover of pubs in the longer-term. Give them about a month and wait for the end of Lent and even the grouchiest of smoker-drinkers will return to the pub rather than sit at home drinking out of cans and puffing away in front of the telly. I heard Moore McDowell talking to Pat Kenny, the bother of the Minister of Justice, arguing that the economic studies on the impact of such bans in other parts of the world, while flawed statistically, indicated that the net impact is zero or slightly positive on trade. He made an interesting further point though declaring himself to be against 'nannystateism'. While the health effects of first and second-hand smoke are well known he made the point that we do all die in the end. Obvious of course. So will the ban just give rise to many more much older people needing health care? He almost suggested that the cost of caring for older people in ill health is more expensive than caring for younger patients suffering from lung cancer and heart-disease caused by smoking. He didn’t say it out loud, but there was a hint that it is cheaper for us the taxpayers if people would die at a younger age. But that’s economists for ya!.
Gulf War veteran a key witness to fatal fracas
A CRUCIAL witness in the investigation into the death of Liam McDonnell in an incident in Castlebar early on Sunday morning will be interviewed by Gardai later this week. Frank McDonnell is recovering from serious injuries sustained in the same fracas in which his 35 year old brother, a security man died. Mr. McDonnell, who served with the British Army in the first Gulf War, underwent surgery at Merlin Park Hospital on Tuesday. A Garda spokesman confirmed yesterday (Tuesday) that the 31 year old, who is married with three children, will be interviewed as part of the intensive investigation. "We will be speaking to the injured man as soon as we get clearance from the medical staff at the hospital", the spokesman said before adding: "He is one of a number of people whom we wish to interview in connection with this tragic matter". The man who died, Liam McDonnell, who was married with two children, was found by Gardai with serious head injuries in the garden of a house at Rossmor when they answered a ‘999’ call just after 4 a.m. on Sunday. He died at Mayo General Hospital shortly after being rushed there by ambulance.
Obviously the death of Liam McDonnell was covered by all the papers this week and the Connaught gave us as clear an outline of what happened as is possible for a newspaper to do when things are at an extremely delicate stage. You will have heard much more concerning the details of the tragic affair.
Lyric FM at Mayo General
RTE Lyric FM will broadcast ‘Lunchtime Choice’ from the main foyer of Mayo General Hospital, Castlebar on Tuesday April 6th from 12.30p.m. to 3p.m. The show will feature live spots by Maria McGarry (piano) and Rev Gary Hastings (flute) and other guests. Any requests for hospital patients, locals or others can be text to 087-1313144 or phone 1850-715-144
Some light relief in a hospital story for a change. The wonderful Lyric FM team are back in Castlebar again. Just one small point about requests for patients – as far as I know the radio sets provided for patients in the hospital do not receive Lyric FM. You can get MWR (of course), RTE1, and 2FM but that’s it folks. Perhaps someone will tune it in for them before Tuesday. But in any case do call along to the great foyer of Mayo General lunchtime on Tuesday to hear Mayo pianist Maria McGarry who has spent some time at the famous Julliard School in Manhattan over the last few years - not sure if she's still there or not. And of course the redoubtable Rev Hastings who is billed as playing the flute. He is famous for his talent as a traditional Irish musician - perhaps unusual for a 'man of the cloth' but there's no law against reverend flute players. The foyer of the new hospital is itself becoming quite an arts venue. As well as concerts it has regularly hosted painting and photographic exhibitions - most recently an excellent exhibition of photos taken by the staff of the hospital.