News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Saturday 21st February 2015

Health services cuts are over says Leo Varadkar at the Ardfheis

 

Minister for Health to say it will take us several years to rebuild health service.

The recruitment of nurses is under way again and this year the number of nurses directly employed in our public health service will increase by more than 500.

That’s on top of any increase in mental health nurses.” He stated.

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar. He will emphasise a number of areas where he says things are being done well. “Medicine prices are falling for patients and taxpayers due to greater competition and tough negotiations. Our ambulance services are improving.”

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar will today announce that the “cycle of cuts” in the health service is now over and that Irish medical professionals working abroad should consider coming home.

In a major speech to the Fine Gael ardfheis this afternoon, Mr Varadkar will tell party members that the period of retrenchment and cutbacks in the health services – it lasted seven years and has been the subject of continuous public criticism – is now nearing an end.

“It will take us several years to rebuild our health service, and we are only just getting started, but the cycle of cuts is over. I want the message to go out from here to our doctors, nurses and therapists in England, Australia and the Middle East that it’s time to consider coming home and being part of the health service recovery in Ireland, ” he will tell delegates.

Mr Varadkar has promised the Government will now sanction recruiting in other areas too. “Now that we have a deal on consultant pay, the HSE was able to advertise 30 consultant posts last week. This is part of the first batch of more than 100, with many more to follow.”

In the course of the speech, he will accept that there remains “a lot of things wrong in our health service”.

However, he will emphasise a number of areas where he says things are being done well. He instances hospital-acquired infections such as MRSA, the rates of which were close to an all-time low.

“Medicine prices are falling for patients and taxpayers due to greater competition and tough negotiations. Our ambulance services are improving. We have an air ambulance service for the first time, we have skilled paramedics who begin treatment long before you get to the hospital and are supported by Community First Responders.

Mr Varadkar will deliver his speech this afternoon ahead of Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s leader’s address at 8.30pm.

Jailed water protesters go on hunger strike

Derek Byrne says he and other protesters are refusing food.

   

Supporters outside the court (above middle picture)

Some of the water charges protesters, who were jailed earlier this week for breaching court orders, have gone on hunger strike.

Derek Byrne says he and other protestors are refusing food after being moved from Mountjoy prison to Wheatfield in Clondalkin.

In a statement posted to his Facebook page, Mr Byrne says the move is politically motivated, and makes it harder for his family to visit him.

He says he will refuse fluids if he is not moved back by Monday evening, and is calling for candlelit vigils to be held outside the homes of politicians.

The statement on Facebook reads as follows:

This is Siobhan Walsh releasing a statement on behalf of Mr Derek Byrne. We have been locked up/confined to a cell for the last 3 days on complete lock down in Wheatfield Prison. We were moved out of Mountjoy because of a political decision.

We have taken the steps to go on hunger strike and have been on hunger strike since yesterday, If we are not moved back to Mountjoy Training Unit as we were told we would be then on Monday morning we will be taking it further and refusing fluids until we are moved back to Mountjoy.

It is harder for our families to make the journey to Clondalkin to visit us. Every decision made from our court cases to our incarceration has been of a political nature. Two young children are been kept from their Father and are now in an emotionally distraught state , their Mothers are now been denied financial aid by the Father as he is currently been incarcerated by the state as he refuses to back down from no 1. A point of principle and 2. He believes there is a better way forward for the people of this country.

We ask that there be daily protests at shopping centers connected to main roads and to keep our stories highlighted. We ask that the politicians (TD’s FG, LB, FF,) all are made to pay for these decisions and for people to hold SILENT PEACEFUL CANDLE VIGILS outside their houses.

David McGuiness of FF has said that the water meter protests have led to an increase of burglaries and other areas, NOT TRUE! Water meter protests have nothing to do with an increase in crime, lack of Garda resources and funding by the government have led to an increase in crime,

Water meter protesters have committed No crime!. These are the people that are standing and fighting for a better future for everyone in this country. We again ask that Enda Kenny & his government resign. We’d like to thank everyone for their support and continued support. Derek Byrne.

New programme to microchip all dogs in the country

  

All dogs will be microchipped under new government proposals.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney outlined the scheme yesterday under which a compulsory microchipping programme will be rolled out on a phased basis from this September, beginning with pups, before being expanded to all dogs in March 2016.

Minister Coveney said: “It will provide a basic tool to protect the welfare of all dogs and assist with uniting stray dogs with their owners.

“It will act as a deterrent to those who abandon dogs and assist in identifying marauding dogs and those that pose a threat to livestock or people.”

The plan, contained in legislation which would mean data on dogs being stored with a number of approved private databases, was given a broad welcome by animal welfare groups.

Dogs Trust executive director, Mark Beazley, said the move marked “a breakthrough for dog welfare in Ireland”, while the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association also welcomed the news. Its chairman, John Brooks, said microchipping would help guard against dog attacks on sheep.

Storm washes Armada wreckage on to Sligo beach

Low tides at Streedagh in Sligo this weekend may expose more Spanish Armada wreckage

  

The finds (pictured) follow the discovery last year of part of a 20ft rudder from one of the vessels on the beach.

Fears have been expressed for the security of the three Spanish Armada shipwrecks off the coast of Co Sligo, following the discovery of two separate remnants, apparently washed up on Streedagh beach by recent storms.

  Donal Gilroy from the Grange and Armada Development Association (GADA) said the discoveries underlined the fragility of the wrecks, described by one expert as “the best archaeological site for this time of maritime archaeology in the world”.

The National Museum and the heritage office at Sligo County Council were notified yesterday about the finds, which follow the discovery last year of part of a 20ft rudder from one of the vessels on the beach.

About 1,100 sailors died when three Spanish galleons were wrecked in violent storms off Streedagh in 1588. An interpretative centre is planned for the nearby village of Grange but there have been calls for the vessels to be excavated and housed in a purpose built local museum.

Mr Gilroy said it was possible that scheduled low tides this weekend may expose more wreckage. “These artifacts have been buried off Streedagh for nearly 430 years. It is lucky they were not carried out by the tide,” he said.

He said that at the request of the county council he was placing the two pieces of wood, one found on Thursday by a member of the GADA, and the other yesterday, in salt water at an undisclosed location to ensure they are properly preserved pending a visit next week by experts from the National Museum.

“One piece is 13 feet long and the other about 16 feet long and they are well preserved oak. They both look like they came from the rib of a boat”, he said.

Thee three wrecks are located about 60 meters from the low tide mark in 15 meters of water.

“This is a protected site but we worry that these boats are being moved by storms. They have thrown up more in the last two years than in the previous 40,” said Mr Gilroy.

He said that there was a fully intact gun carriage and a number of cannons which were taken from the city walls in Palermo, on the vessels at Streedagh.

The Streedagh wrecks were rediscovered in 1985 by a team of divers led by Dr Colin Martin who had who had led previous explorations of Spanish Armada shipwrecks.

Watch Nola the rare rhino enjoying a back rub and a pedicure

   

No other rhinos need a hoof trim, but Nola knows she’s special.

Staff at San Diego Safari Park are very proud of Nola the rhino – she’s even got her own Wikipedia page. But then why not? There’s a tragic reason for Nola’s celebrity status – she’s only one of five northern white rhinoceroses alive today, and the only female living in the Americas.

Like any celebrity, Nola is pretty high maintenance. Not only does she enjoy a soothing back rub, she also needs her hoofs trimmed regularly. Lead keeper Jane Kennedy talked us through Nola’s regime.

The Planets light up Vancouver’s sky

A conjunction like this has not happened since 2008

This Scene from Vancouver is dedicated to my best friend & daughter living there for the last 18 months.

  

VANCOUVER:- The sun went down last night and the moon rose, with Mars and Venus brightly shining.

Derrick Kief, an astronomer at the HR MacMillan Space Centre says both the planets are in conjunction this weekend, meaning they’re very close together.

He says the last time this happened was in 2008. “They are fairly infrequent, we do have a bunch of conjunctions this year. We actually have a triple conjunction coming up in a couple of months where it’s going to be Venus, Mars and Jupiter, so that is definitely something to look forward to.”

“There actually was Uranus up there as well, but you just can’t see it,” he explains. “And if you went 180 degrees and looked at the other region of the night sky you’d actually see Jupiter, right before sunrise you can also see Saturn out right now so all the planets are kind of debuting themselves right now which is really cool.”

If you missed last night’s incredible display, you can catch another viewing Saturday night.

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