From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
From The Western People - 21 Jan 2004
By The Jaundiced Eye
24, Jan 2004 - 16:13

Castlebar Mayor snubs Bush

The Mayor of Castlebar, Cllr Aidan Crowley, has declined an invitation to visit the US for St Patrick’s Day festivities because of his disagreement with the policies of President George Bush. "I will not visit America while George Bush is President," declared Cllr Crowley, a Fianna Fáil member of the authority and a solicitor in the town. He made his view known when the council considered an invitation to send members to Peeksville in New York for St Patrick’s Day. Yesterday Cllr Crowley said he also had "serious reservations" about being fingerprinted if he wished to go to the US but his primary issue was that President Bush "had lied to the global community." Mr Crowley made it clear he was making a personal stand on the matter. "My decision is a personal one and has nothing to do with the position of Mayor of Castlebar. I will fulfill any duties as Mayor and will receive the visitors from Peeksville when they visit the town. "My difficulty is with the US administration. I believe very strongly about the war in Iraq and believe that both Blair and Bush lied to their people to justify the war. "This is nothing against the American people. they are a great people and a great nation, but I have great difficulty with this president (Bush) who lied to his own people and effectively lied to the world. Blair also lied to his parliament," said Cllr Crowley.

Good man Aidan! I think Mayor Crowley reflects the views of many people in Castlebar. It is an appropriate gesture too in the week when even George Bush’s chief weapons inspector in Iraq, David Kay, has resigned because Iraq did not have WMD – not since the end of the last Gulf War in his opinion. It follows on from other senior insider evidence that GW Bush had planned to invade Iraq no matter what ever since becoming president. No one disagrees that Saddam Hussein, like so many other US-supported dictators indeed, was a bad man and that Iraq would be better off without him. So why bother to go and invent stories that in the end they surely knew would not hold up? The spectacle of Colin Powell at the UN is still with us. In retrospect he looks extremely silly. With all his maps and diagrams and satellite photos and intercepted phone calls pointing out where precisely all of the amazingly large stockpiles of chemical, biological and long range missiles to transport it all were stored and being transported up and down Iraq on a daily basis. And this was presented to the general assembly of the United Nations!! My! Oh! My! Why not just say we are going to bomb them and take the oil and to hell with International Law? To hell with any pretence of adhering to UN resolutions, etc. Who is going to say boo to them anyway? So I am proud of Aidan Crowley for speaking out on behalf of the people of Castlebar. Note too that he made a clear distinction between US government policy and the regular people of the USA who obviously were not involved in the whole lying farce put up by GW and his team.

Bed delay victim still in a coma

A young Kilkelly man lying in a coma after being involved in a near-fatal car accident last month was finally transferred to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin following a wait of ten days. He is understood to be in a satisfactory condition. The case of 19-year-old Christopher Flynn prompted a huge public outcry last week after it was revealed that he had spent ten days waiting to gain admission to Beaumont Hospital because of a shortage of beds. Christopher received serious head injuries on December 13th, 2003 when the car in which he was a back seat passenger went out of control and ended up in a field. He has been in a coma since the accident and has spent all of that time in a bed on a ventilator in Mayo General Hospital. While in the hospital he contracted three infections after he was moved from one end of the building to the other for CAT scans. An MRI scan, which could only be carried out at Beaumont Hospital, was required to ascertain the extent of any brain damage the 19-year-old may have suffered in the accident. However, when no bed was forthcoming after ten days Christopher’s parents, Danny and Mary, were forced to go public on the appalling predicament in which they found themselves.


We all heard the publicity concerning Christopher Flynn during the week and our hearts went out to him. His case is a symptom of the more general malaise in the health services. Anyone who works or lives in or around Castlebar town is used to hearing the chopper landing in Castlebar on a weekly or more frequent basis. You assume as a result that there is no problem in taking seriously ill or injured patients to places such as Beaumont where they can receive the most sophisticated of high-tech treatments. But in the news coverage of the case during the week it turned out that Beaumont Hospital does not have its own helipad! A thing we take for granted in a country town like Castlebar (where people have helipads in their back gardens!) Apparently the chopper takes off from Castlebar and has to fly to Dublin Airport where a road ambulance takes the patient the final portion of the journey into Dublin traffic! Of course more serious is the shortage of beds which means that like this case you may have to be sedated – deliberately placed in a coma in other words for many days until a bed becomes available. Christopher Flynn’s parents have done us all a service by highlighting these inadequacies. I hope he makes a rapid and full recovery after the initial hiatus - undoubtedly he received good care both in Castlebar hospital and in Beaumont when he finally got there.

Kilcoyne to quit in Labour rift

Outgoing County Councillor Johnny Mee will carry the Labour banner in the Castlebar area of the Mayo county council elections next June. He will be the sole Labour Party standard bearer in the area. The local branch held its Selection Convention in the Traveller’s Friend Royal Hotel at the weekend. There had been speculation that Labour might run two candidates as Michael Kilcoyne, a member of the town council, had also expressed an interest in a nomination. However despite a case being made by Cllr Kilcoyne, the meeting agreed a one-candidate strategy and outgoing councillor Mee was the unanimous choice. (Cllr Kilcoyne was proposed but he withdrew his name). The meeting, which was chaired by Kildare Deputy Emmet Stagg, a native of Hollymount, also selected Cllr Mee as a candidate for the town council. The question of other candidates was deferred when, according to Branch chairman Dave Breen, Cllr Kilcoyne indicated that he was "in discussions" with another political party.  

I heard the shock announcement that Michael Kilcoyne was in negotiations with another political party on CRC news – the same day that Aidan Crowley made his announcement about visiting the USA. Michael K denied this afterwards but presumably he must have muttered something in the course of the meeting for it to be reported at all? With all his work for the consumer association perhaps Mary Harney has made him an offer?

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