Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Getting the basics wrong-give people OT

Figures I've got today from my old constituency colleague and our current health spokesperson Róisin Shortall TD show an outrageous 1,363 people in Carlow/Kilkenny, including 364 children are waiting for occupational therapy while eight OT posts remain unfilled in the area. Occupational Therapy is a crucial part of the treatment of people with disabilities and mobility difficulties, yet Mary Harney, Minister for Health and Brendan Drumm, as the boss of the HSE can decide to just not fill jobs which provide this basic service to people who really need it.

I've already highlighted the effect this has had on services like the provision of cervical smear tests for women. Why is it that we care so little about such basic services. The so-called agenda for change in the health service has left us with precious little change in the top-heavy administration, but is having a serious impact on services for ordinary patients.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Past the 4,000-Keep Visiting

Great news for the ohargain blog. You and your like-minded or equally inquisitive spirits have brought the visitor figures to this site to 4,000. Just as interesting is where you're coming from. The past week for instance have seen 54 visitors from Ireland(Hi to my Borough Council colleagues who drop in occasionally!), 15 from the US, doubtless because of the Obama blogs, and 11 from the UK. Further afield there are 2 each from France, Canada and New Zealand, while my South American regular visitor seems to be in Argentina these days!

Anyway thanks to all for visiting, and 'tar ar ais go minic', come back regularly please.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Change in the air-Obama does it in Iowa

This politics thing is insane. Here I am, back from the Kingdom, having had a politics free fortnight and a great time with Mar and the kids and my parents. Yet here I am at almost three in the morning, watching the intrigue of politics three thousand miles away. From the day three years ago when I picked up Barack Obama's book in an airport in San Francicso, I've been hugely excited by this extraordinary young African American Democrat. I have believed that he can give Hilary Clinton a real run for her money in the Democratic primaries.
In the last ten minutes it's becoming a reality. Both CNN and our beloved Fox News have just called the state for Obama, with an astonishing 7% lead over John Edwards and Clinton. He now has 37%, to 30% each for the others. The turnout is huge, and a real indication of hope is that the number of young people turing out is the best in years.
On RTE's Primetime programme tonight, Samantha Power, that magical Irish woman who packed St. Canice's Cathedral in August called it like this. The infectious enthisiasm she had then and now may just prove right. For those of us enthusiastic about how new ideas and a lack of sticking with the old ways of doing things in politics, a guy who has only been a Senator for three years but who's now threateningfto become the US' first ever black President breathes life into politics. Roll on New Hampshire!