From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
From the Connaught Telegraph 9 June 2004
By The Jaundiced Eye
12, Jun 2004 - 10:16

Vested interests’ blamed for axing of Orthopaedic Unit

A RETIRED Consultant Surgeon at Mayo General Hospital has launched a blistering attack on Western Health Board bosses over what he claims is the cancelling of the opening of the 10 million euro Orthopaedic Unit at the Castlebar hospital. Mr. Joseph G. Johnson has blamed ‘vested interests’ in Galway for the abandonment of the project, even though 78 staff had been offered jobs in the unit, which was due to open on July 1. Mr. Johnson said once more the people of Mayo were being sacrificed on the altar of Western Health Board vested interests and Galway flagship politics. He stated: " The new Orthopaedic unit development has been effectively cancelled – officials will say postponed – they would wouldn’t they. "Finance is not a problem. Seventy-eight staff were offered and accepted posts commencing on July 1 2004 – these have now been cancelled. Finance will be a problem as legal action follows.

The huge march on Wednesday demonstrates that health is still a major political issue. The idea of having to travel to Galway to get a bone set is ridiculous. Hopefully sanity will prevail and the politicking that is going on within the health board will stop. There is a rumour already that the staff who have been appointed are already looking at other opportunities due to the messing that the WHB is going on with.

Picture of the Offical Opening of Castlebar Court House

Pictured at the opening of the refurbished Castlebar Court House were left to right: Mr Frank Chambers, Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, The Hon. Mrs Justice Susan Denham, chairperson of the Court Service Board, Mr. Fintan Murphy, County Registar, Mr. Aiden Crowley, Mayor of Castlebar Town Council and Minister Michael McDowell TD, who performed the official opening.

The refurbished court house looks to be a fine job an thank God the red pillars are gone! The staff who were evacuated from the court on the basis of a health and safety condemnation a number of years back can now return and hopefully work in some comfort in classic but modern surroundings. Not sure if it will do anything for the mood of the defendants coming through the door though?

THREE Mayo beaches have lost their Blue Flags
The three beaches stripped of the prestigious award are Keem Beach in Achill, Carrowmore Beach near Louisburgh and Mullaghroe Beach in Belmullet. Keem failed the mandatory limit on faecal and total coliforms while the other two beaches failed the guide limit on total coliforms. Mayo is still the third highest recipient of Blue Flags in Ireland. Ten of last year’s thirteen award winners retained their flags – Bertra, Old Head, Elly Bay, Clare Island, Mulranny, Dooega, Keel, Ross, Dugort and Golden Strand. Mayo County Council’s Director of Services for the Westport electoral area, Mr. Peter Hynes, said the authority is disappointed that three Blue Flags have been lost. An investigation will take place to try and pinpoint the causes of the reduction in water quality at the three beaches.

The Connaught Telegraph puts a more positive gloss on the Blue Flag story. Mayo has more blue flag beaches than any other county. Hopefully the reverse that affected three key beaches will put a bit of restraint on our newly elected councillors when they set off to build as many one-off houses as possible. The campaign for septic tanks and more sheep on hillsides does have consequences! Our well drinking water and group scheme water is pretty crap. County Councillors don’t believe in bacteria though.

Apologies to readers for not including the Connaught Telegraph over the past few weeks but unfortunately their online version has not been updated for some weeks.

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