From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
From the Western People 28 Jan 2004
By The Jaundiced Eye
31, Jan 2004 - 21:42

High-tech emergency centre for Castlebar

The Camp West project in Castlebar — the regional emergency call out service for the West and North West region — should come into service later this year. Construction of the Camp West centre at Swimming Pool Poad, Castlebar, has been completed for a number of years but it has not been brought into service because of protracted negotiations with the unions involved. Camp West brings together the WHB ambulance service and the county fire services in the Connacht counties and Donegal. When up and running it will provide a single dedicated emergency service call handling centre for members of the public of the CAMP West region as well as a computer aided mobilisation and communications centre for the participating emergency services (fire and ambulance). The centre, which has been built for over two years, is purpose designed using state of the art technology and regional communications technology. This technology will enable the various authorities to provide the most efficient service possible using their existing limited resources.

It’s finally coming to pass CAMP West – it’s there at the fire station there just next to the EPA. It’s taken a long time but hopefully they have updated their GIS software and radio communications to meet all the upgrades that have happened since the first versions were installed. You know how software and hardware gets out of date very quickly? The union/demarcation/management kefuffle whatever was going on got in the way of an early launch but finally all seems set to go. So if you are involved in an accident or a fire the fire crew and ambulance will get there quicker as a result of CAMP West despatch!

West Mayo gets festival honour

Castlebar and Westport are to be the bases for Europeade showcase festival and conference in April. It is the only Mayo event to be included in the recently announced cultural programme for Ireland’s EU presidency and is one of the few recognised outside of the larger cities in the country. The first time this will ever be held in Ireland, the bi-annual spring event promotes the traditional and folk arts and the intangible heritage of Europe at different locations throughout Europe each year. Local music and dance groups will be invited to participate in the events which will include stage and street performances as well as an International grand parade. The project, which will cost €200,000 to run, was lobbied for as part of the County Development Board strategy for economic, social and cultural development. The festival will have Castlebar and Westport as its base but a community programme will be held throughout towns in the County. Most of the performers will be accommodated in Lough Lannagh Holiday Village, Castlebar. Europade in Mayo will include a number of groups from the accession countries, and its timing, one week before the EU enlargement date, provides a huge opportunity for positive media coverage. Mr Ray Norton, Director of Services, Castlebar Town Council said at a recent budget meeting, "The event provides a great opportunity for Castlebar and Westport as well as the rest of the county to positively promote cultural and heritage tourism as a significant ingredient of our tourism product and show case further our culture and attractions on an international stage."

You’ve heard of Live Aid and Lemonade but now its Europade coming to a town that you live in! I guess as the 'angry farmers' close off Ireland for walking festivals and the like cultural festivals will have to become become the new black again. A festival in every town that was the cry of the 1980s I thought but, plus ca change, and here it comes around again. We have built on the scenery so back to the friendly people again – like that letter I saw in the Irish Indo this week from a woman proclaiming a one-off  house dancing on every cross roads - and sure wasn’t it the friendly people that the tourists came to Ireland for anyway - never mind the landscape stuff? Ya! Rite! Go to New York if you want friendly people. And if you are wondering what I am talking about and why I am slightly jaundiced about the great Irish welcome read my last week's account of my touristic adventures in Mayo. 


Missing finger mystery sparks hospital inquiry

Senior management at Mayo General Hospital have launched an internal investigation into an extraordinary incident in which the amputated part of a man’s finger went missing after he was admitted to the Accident and Emergency Department at the hospital. The man, who is from the East Mayo area, attended at Mayo General Hospital on November 29th last after he caught the tip of his right middle finger in a door, causing partial amputation. He was transferred by ambulance to University College Hospital in Galway where it was hoped the tip could be reattached — but on arrival it was discovered that the amputated part was missing. The finger-tip was never located and the man was forced to undergo alternative surgery on the following evening, November 30th. The Western People has decided not to name the victim in order to respect his privacy. However, speaking exclusively to this newspaper last night (Monday), the 52 year old father-of-three revealed that he has still not received an apology – or even an explanation – for the astounding fiasco. He stressed that he was not laying the blame at the door of ‘front line’ staff in the hospital but he would like some sort of answer from senior management. "I fully accept that the staff at the hospital are working under severe pressure and I have to say that I was treated very well while I was in the hospital. But the fact of the matter is that this incident occurred and I would like an explanation from whoever is in charge. I think it’s the least I deserve." Describing the episode as "unbelieveable", the victim said he had entered Mayo General Hospital at around 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 29th, after the tip of his middle finger was amputated when his young daughter closed a door on his right hand at the family home. He remained on a trolley in A&E until he was transferred to University College Hospital, Galway, at approximately 4.30 p.m. "The finger-tip was put in ice first of all and then it was put into a bag. That bag was on the trolley beside me but I don’t know what happened to it after that. All I know is that when I arrived in Galway it was nowhere to be found.

I think ‘unbelievable’ describes this one very accurately. Obviously it’s one that is going to be syndicated worldwide. You just know it’s going to end up on the back page of newspapers like the Indo’s little colour pieces every day or the tail end of the lighter radio newscasts all over the world. "You’re not going to believe it but wait till ya hear this!"

Oh God!

PDs woo Ballina estate agent

Ballina-based auctioneer, Greg Jackson, has confirmed that he has been approached to stand as a PD candidate in the forthcoming local elections. Mr Jackson has yet to officially declare his intentions but speaking to the Western People yesterday (Monday), January 26, he revealed that he was en route to meet the Tanaiste and PD leader, Mary Harney, in Galway. Mr Jackson has been "head hunted" to stand in the Ballina electoral area - a move which would certainly threaten the balance struck in the last elections when Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael won three seats apiece. He already enjoys a high profile due to his successful auctioneering business and his family’s political background.

Oh God – again. Just what Mayo needs – ONE MORE AUCTIONEER COUNTY COUNCILLOR – How does COUNCILLOR GREG JACKSON AUCTIONEER sound to you? That would make 13 auctioneers surely? And surely that would make Mayo voters the laughing stock of the country? Colour item news editors all over the world will queue up for the results of this one too when they find out what is about to befall Mayo voters. I can see Fox News sending their crews to film this quaint little Irish county that elects auctioneers to represent them almost to the exclusion of the 99% of other professions and occupations!

Please tell me PDs – holier than thou – that you are kiddin’ us? This is just a little joke to get us warmed up for da reel elexns? Mary H pray for us (or should that be prey on us?). And Greg – if you’re reading this don’t do it - we (the voters of Mayo) beg of you!

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