Advertisements

Posts Tagged ‘ HSE ’

News in Brief-Reilly Stuck In A Moment He Can’t Get Out Of As Bono Labels Himself “Jumped Up Jesus”

pope_bonoThe papacy is empty, the red shoes are returned and God’s getting the engaged tone. Pope Benedict XVI has held his final audience during which he stated he no longer had “the mind or body” to carry on with the job – it’s never stopped the Rolling Stones – and so off he scooted in the ’Popemobile’. News in Brief has a sneaky suspicion the come back tour has already been planned with four dates at Slane in the Summer. You heard it here first. Continue reading

Advertisements

News in Brief-Sex On The Beach In Donegal As Fallen Popstar Keating Charges €368 For Meet And Greet

showbiz_ronan_keatingAs if the health service didn’t have it tough enough now University Hospital Galway has fleas! A number of staff have been bitten by the infiltrating pests which hospital management assured had not affected patients. However fleas will be the least of the HSE’s problems with a new report highlighting the rise in life expectancy of the population. We may be living longer but we are apparently spending more of our lives sick or injured. Or soon, at work.

Minister of State for Older People Kathleen Lynch has suggested the Government will raise the age of retirement as part of their “positive ageing” strategy. News in Brief isn’t sure it’s to positive, fancy working at Maccy D’s into your seventies?

The pope is one pensioner still going. This week he has even started tweeting. Yes, Pope Benedict XIV is on Twitter, really. Providing us with 140 character insights into his day in Vatican City and so far gaining a million followers. Sure wouldn’t the good lord himself have recognised the growing importance of social media for brand image. If you fancy a follow he’s @Pontifex .

Bundoran in Donegal has always been popular with tourists because of its stretch of beautiful beaches. It seems however there are a new type of visitor to the coast line, an Easter European gang selling the services of prostitutes. Guards were alerted after a number of men were given calling cards by women offering a range of services. Gives a whole new meaning to sex on the beach.

Crap news in Galway where City Council officials had their fleet of eight bin trucks repossessed. The trucks were on loan from Holden Plant Hire in Kilkenny but their lease expired last September. Despite repeated warnings from Holden the vehicles were not returned. Fine Gael councillor Padraig Connelly described the incident as “incompetence on top of incompetence”, News in Brief calls it rubbish.

In celeb news it’s Ronan’s all round. Ronan O’Gara was a named as one of a plethora of high-profile people who conveniently had driving penalty points “disappeared” by the gardai. It’s alright though Justice Minister Alan Shatter said, he was one of less than 300 similar incidents.

The other Ronan, Keating that is, is charging fans €368 to meet him after some of his concerts. Obviously recession means nothing to Ronan despite his last album Fires not sparking much interest selling only 181 copies in the first few days though. He’s one up with a plan to post ticket sales though, he will be accompanied on tour by everyone’s favourite Westlife botherer Brian McFadden! That would be €368 well spent, on anything else.

We’ve struck gold down here in Wexford! A Dublin based mineral exploration firm has found a stash that could be worth millions. The location however has not been disclosed. You’ll understand if you don’t hear from News in Brief for a while I’m just going outside . . .

Cyber-Bullying: The Story So Far…

cyber_bullyingLast Saturday, the 24th of November, Lara Burns was found dead in the stables next to her home in Co. Kildare. At only twelve years of age Lara had seemingly decided she could not go on any longer and taken her own life. The youth who was just three months into her first year at Maynooth Post Primary School is survived by her devastated family, mother Helene, father Robert, stepfather Noel and brother, Brendan.

Tragically, Lara is the third young girl to take her own life in recent months. Her death follows that of Erin Gallagher (13) from Co. Donegal and Ciara Pugsley (15) from Co. Leitrim who took her own life in September. As we all know and understand suicide is a complex issue which not only results from depression but a series of socio-cultural factors. However, in the case of these three girls cyber-bullying has been considered a primary factor in their horrifically premature deaths.

Claims that Lara Burns had been the victim of bullying first came to light after her brother Brendan who wished to pay tribute to his sister set up a special Facebook page in her memory. While he simply but poignantly wrote “RIP sis” many other contributors to the site made reference to the bullying Lara should never have had to endure.

Yesterday, after speaking with a source close to the Burns family, The Daily Star reported that Lara had in fact battled self harm issues in the period before her death. Apparently the youth had been working closely with and receiving emotional support from Pieta House, a group which provides help for those suffering from suicidal thoughts. In the wake of their daughter’s death the Burns family actually requested that in lieu of flowers at the funeral mourners donate to this particular group.

Having discovered that Lara was self harming for quite some time many are worried that the girl suffered at the hands of bullies for much longer than was originally thought. Naturally, due to the seriousness of this case and the growing epidemic that is cyber-bullying Gardai will be investigating further.

The Statistics

It is a little known fact that more people die as a result of suicide each year in Ireland than in road traffic accidents. While older people, especially men, are typically thought of as the most vulnerable group this is beginning to change and we are seeing suicide affecting increasing numbers of Irish people across the lifespan. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) youth suicide is growing at the fastest rate. In fact suicide is now considered one of the three leading causes of death amongst those aged 15-44 (male and female). Disturbingly, the WHO also found that youth suicide rates in Ireland are the fifth highest in the European Union whilst a separate report published by the Irish Medical Journal has revealed that there has been a 16 percent increase in a 20 year period in the rate of suicide in Irish teens under the age of 17.

Social Media

Thanks in part to ever changing hormone levels the teenage years are widely understood to be some of the most turbulent and vulnerable of an individuals entire life. Unfortunately today’s teenagers are facing greater challenges and dealing with more pressure than ever before. Simply inhabiting this world requires a person to deal with pressures resulting from alcohol, drugs, sexuality, sexualisation, body image etc. Of course technology despite all of its wonderful aspects also has a part to play. Today, your average teenager has a cell phone, a Facebook account, and probably numerous others (Bebo, Twitter or ask.fm anyone?) Obviously I am not suggesting we simply cut off these lines of communication but it is of the utmost importance that we recognise the dangers that come alongside them. There is no denying that there has been an influx of social media sites in recent years and I like so many others believe this is one of the major problems affecting teenagers today.

Today, if you don’t have a Facebook account you’re considered weird and lets face it no teenager wants to be considered strange. Not having a link such as this to their friends can make a fourteen year old feel like a social outcast. However having a social networking account (accounts in many cases) provides a direct channel to that individual meaning that if they are in fact being bullied they are contactable outside of school hours, at night time at the weekend, always.

The Problem With Anonymity

Typically, people have the confidence to say things they otherwise would not – both good and bad things – when a screen separates them from the individual they wish to speak to. Ian Power, communications manager of SpunOut, a youth organisation which aims to put an end to cyber-bullying, believes that this is how and why cyber-bullying so often spirals out of control. Power believes that what many individuals say online is more often than not something they would never say in “real life” In his opinion the “rise in the past year in the number of websites that allow anonymity” only exacerbates the issue. With the privilege of anonymity tormentors often feel that they can hurl even more outrageous insults and comments at their victims. Insults such as “I’m sorry to hear you tried to kill yourself. Next time finish it” This comment was aimed at a young victim of bullying here in Ireland. One website that grants users total anonymity is Ask.fm. This controversial site has found itself at the centre of both Ciara Pugsley and Erin Gallagher’s deaths.

Ciara Pugsley

Ciara Pugsley, who attended St Clare’s Comprehensive School in Manorhamilton Co. Leitrim, took her own life just last September after becoming the target of a vicious hate campaign launched against her online. The fifteen year old’s tormentors primarily used Ask.fm to abuse her. Among the comments the teenager received were ones telling her she was fat, ugly, retarded and that she lacked all self respect. Another individual, perhaps the same individual, then made reference to her depression questioning whether or not she was just pretending to be in pain in order to get attention. Heartbreakingly, the last message to appear from Ciara on her account was a response to the question “whats been up with you?” to which the teenager replied “u’ll see soon.” Shockingly vitriolic comments concerning Ciara were even posted online following her tragic death.

Erin Gallagher

Six weeks later, in a strikingly similar case, thirteen year old Erin Gallagher from Ballybofey, Co. Donegal was found dead after informing her online contacts – friends and tormentors alike – that she was considering killing herself following a bout of abuse suffered on Ask.fm. Again the comments aimed at Erin were much the same as those aimed at Ciara. The thirteen year old was dubbed a “fat, ugly tramp” by tormentors who once again preferred to remain anonymous. Multiple references were also made to the fact that Erin had been physically assaulted by some of the same girls. In a comment posted on Friday, the day before the thirteen year old died, Erin responded to bullies who were poking fun at the fact that she had been badly beaten by another girl and perhaps even had some of her hair pulled out during the attack

“Do u think ur funny bullying me over ask.fm? Yeah u prob think it was funny when I f**kin put a rope round my neck cause of yous, yous are that sad! Leave it now u had ur f**kin fun get over it! My hair wasn’t all over the ground trust me plus stop going round saying I got a bald patch I had or have no bald patch”.

Calls To Ban Controversial Site Ask.fm

In her Facebook tribute Erin’s older sister Shannon Gallagher wrote “I love you darling. It’s so hard to say you’re gone. Everyones heartbroken. I couldn’t have asked for a better sister. You were a stunning girl. No one deserved what you went through. I’m sorry that I couldn’t prevent it. Love you with all my heart” which actually spurred an outpouring of grief from family, friends and sympathisers across the nation and those who wished to call for an end to the now supremely controversial site Ask.fm.

Calling for an end to the site was Peter Sweeney who wrote:

“Erin is a 2nd year student who went to a local school here in Ballybofey who tragically due to bullying ended her own life. An absolute waste of a young life who had so much ahead of her. She was on a website called ask.fm where a lot of the bullying took place, and I call for it to be banned. Rest in peace Erin.”

Shockingly another user, Laura O Sullivan, who echoed Sweeney’s sentiments admitted “My own sister had the same trouble with that ask.fm, had a suicide letter written also, my mum found it thank god.”

Founder Of Ask.fm Defends His Site

Responding to the negative press Ask.fm has received following the death of these girls the sites founder Mark Terebin told RTE that he sympathised with the families of the victims adding “We do understand the gravity of the situation… of course there is a problem with cyber bullying in social media, but as far as we can see, we only have this situation in Ireland and the UK… It seems like children are more cruel in these countries.”  Having been further pressed by the media to comment on the situation at hand Terebin then issued another statement saying “Mass media is knocking on the wrong door. It is necessary to go deeper and to find a root of a problem. It’s not about the site, the problem is about education, about moral values that have been devalued lately. Don’t blame a tool but try to make changes… start with yourself. Be more polite, more kind, more tolerant of others.” He then went on to blame the medias coverage of these suicides for further deaths amongst teenagers “Suicide is not something to encourage via mass media. The more you promote suicide, the more it happens.”

It’s true, Ask.fm was quite innocently set up as a social networking tool that would allow members to ask questions and seek advice on various topics. It was never intended to be misused and abused the way it has been by certain members of the public. I’m sure cyber-bullying was never something website developers intended to encourage. There is also truth in what Terebin has said: we should be more tolerant of and nicer to others. However Ask.fm’s terms of service clearly states: “You will not, directly or indirectly, transmit any obscene, offensive, threatening, harassing, libellous, hate-oriented, harmful, defamatory, racist, illegal or otherwise objectionable material or content.”

Mr Terebin has gone to great lengths recently to point out that his site is just like Facebook or Twitter – a mere social networking tool – perhaps then it is time that he admit that he does in fact have a responsibility to the many users of his website. No, I do not believe that shutting down Ask.fm will eliminate cyber-bullying or teen suicide but Mr Terebin simply cannot continue to deny all culpability. The fact remains that each and every websites content must be monitored and managed and that is precisely why the founder of this particular site has tried to transfer the onus of responsibility to the shoulders of so many others. Certainly I do not wish to imply that the deaths of these girls are his fault but it seems to me that Mr Terebin should refrain from implying that the “cruel” children of Ireland and those who work in the media are to blame. In my opinion these are two incredibly naive statements. One simply cannot tar all the teenagers of Ireland with the same brush and an educated person would never suggest shutting up when it comes to suicide or depression for that matter. For years we have struggled to overcome the taboo status of suicide here in Ireland something we are only now succeeding in. It has long been acknowledged that communication is the key to battling both depression and suicide, given the statistics we saw earlier this is not the time to revert to silence and secrecy.

Anti Bullying Campaigners

In the wake of Lara Burns recent suicide Mr Jonathan Pugsley, father of Ciara , has come forward to express his sympathy for the family saying “It is devastating to learn that another young girl has taken her own life. My heart goes out to the Burns family because I know what they are going through” He also appealed, once again, to the politicians of Ireland to take “urgent action” to prevent more deaths amongst our young people. “I’ve tried to research all of this and it seems to me that the politicians in this country have spent the past 10-12 years talking about bullying but have done nothing about it.” Mr Pugsley said adding “The time for talking is over. We need urgent action now and urgent policies now to prevent further deaths.” Thanks to impassioned and dedicated campaigners such as Mr Pugsley and the tireless work of organisation’s like The National Anti Bullying Coalition (NABC) it seems our leaders will set in motion the changes this country so badly needs.

Following the success of the Tools for Teachers programme developed by teachers Sean Fallon and Mary Kent which provides free expert training in the recognition and elimination of bullying in schools across Ireland the NABC has urged Education Minister Ruairi Quinn to develop and implement an anti bullying system within Irish schools that is at least as effective as that devised by Fallon and Kent. “So please, Minister Quinn, use the authority you already have under the Education Act to initiate the end of this misery for students and their families now. For some of our teenagers, there is no time to lose, and next year may be too late” said a spokesperson for NABC recently. Fortunately, it is now expected that the minister will present an action plan expertly devised by members of The National Behavioural Support Service, the HSE and National Educational Psychologists to the NABC in the coming days.

Meanwhile, also petitioning for change is Minister for Justice Alan Shatter who wants to examine in further detail the prospect of prosecuting cyber-bullies. Addressing members of the Dail Shatter explained that bullying was a form of harassment and as such fell within the provisions of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997. Whilst he acknowledged the difficulty in prosecuting bullies and the need to remain both practical and realistic he also said that he hoped to learn from countries such as Scotland and Australia both of which treat the matter extremely seriously.

At this point anything that would contribute to the recognition that bullying is not acceptable within schools, the workplace or any other environment is warmly welcomed by the people of Ireland. Until then it is important to remember these guidelines issued by SpunOut.ie for combating cyber bullying:

  • Ignore the bully – Do not respond online.
  • Keep some evidence of the bullying. Take a screenshot of the comments being posted to sites and retain all text messages.
  • Confide in someone you trust such as a friend, family member or teacher.
  • The most important thing of all is to speak up. Do not suffer in silence.

Naturally bullying contributes to feelings of depression so I also spoke to Sandra Hogan of AWARE to hear what advice she had to offer those suffering from depression. This is what she had to say:

“Anyone who might be affected by depression or concerned about a loved one can access information and support which is available. Our website www.aware.ie contains lots of helpful information about the condition and about our support services. Once you know what you are dealing with, it is that little bit easier to find coping techniques and minimise the impact it has on your life. There are some helpful resources aimed at young people such as spunout.ie, jigsaw and headstrong. Getting professional advice from a GP or other appropriately qualified health professional is important too.”

Please, whatever you do just remember there is truth in the old idiom “A problem shared is a problem halved” and speak out!

By Kerri Mitchell

For those coping with or affected by depression/suicide

Childline: 1800 666656 or text list to 50101

Parentline: 1890 927277

Teen Ireland: 1800 833634

Console: 24/7 helpline 1800 201890

3Ts 24/7 helpline: 1800 247100 or text “help” to 51444

HSE Suicide Prevention Helpline: 1800 742745

AWARE: 1890 303 302

Pieta House: 01 601 0000 or email mary@pieta.ie

Cyberbullying advice websites

Expert advice at webwise.ie

Academic based research at cybertraining-project.org

SpunOut.ie

No Record Of Abortion Request In Savita Case

Since the death of Savita Halapannavar following a miscarriage on the 28th October at University Hospital Galway her devastated husband Praveen has been fighting with the help of his solicitor Gerard O’Donnell to prevent a HSE inquiry into her death.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner Mr O’ Donnell confirmed that Mr Halapannavar’s legal team had requested that Savita’s medical records be handed over to her family and that any HSE copies be deleted immediately.

The solicitor said that it was his understanding, based on previous cases, that the HSE must comply with this request. Continuing Mr O Donnell warned that if the HSE failed to meet with this request that Mr Halapannavar’s entire legal team are fully prepared to file a complaint with the Data Protection Commissioner and if necessary obtain a High Court injunction to “restrain” any further access this particular group may gain to the files in question.

Mr O’Donnell then went on to criticise Taoiseach Enda Kenny for his comments on the case in which he said that widower Praveen should meet the chairman of the HSE’s inquiry “without prejudice” as this would be “in the interest of his own family’s tragedy.”

Given that it is his wish that any investigation into the death of his wife be fully independent Mr Halapannavar has already refused to cooperate with the HSE. Speaking on behalf of his client who wished to defend his decisions thus far Mr O’Donnell said “His wife died in the care of the HSE. He doesn’t think it’s appropriate nor does his family think it’s appropriate that the HSE should investigate it. They are the ones who are being investigated, so they should not investigate this.”

In what is perhaps a very surprising turn of events it was claimed, mere hours ago, by Mr O Donnell that having gained access to and studied closely Savita’s medical records that there is absolutely no mention of her or her husband’s repeated requests to have the fetus terminated after it was confirmed by hospital staff that Savita was in fact miscarrying and that the fetus would not survive.

The revelation came at the same time that it was announced that the HSE had asked the State’s health watchdog HIQA to initiate a statutory inquiry into the death of Savita Halapannavar. A move which may have been decided upon after an unprecedented intervention on the part of President Michael D Higgins who yesterday insisted that the inquiry into the woman’s death must meet the needs of her family as well as the state.

However, the director general designate of the HSE Tony O’Brien has since said that even if Mrs Halapannavar’s family decide not to cooperate with the HSE’s inquiry that it must still “be brought to a conclusion” It his belief that it would be “criminally negligent” to put an end to the HSE’s inquiry at this stage.

Mr O Brien claims that he requested the HIQA inquiry which may take place before the HSE’s inquiry concludes in order to give the family “further reassurance.” Only time will tell if this will in fact help to ease the worries of Mr Praveen Halapannavar and his family.

By Kerrie Mitchell

News in Brief-Tubridy Fails,Councillors Peed Off Over Loo And Adams Shows His Intellect

Adams: Simple and Effective

Kite flying in the late summer sun sounds like fun to me, that’s why Eamon Gilmore is raining on our parade. The Tanaiste was though referring to “budget kite flying”. This slightly strange turn of phrase, comes to dampen a potential split in the Labour party after a disagreement concerning the suitability of their upmarket meeting venue in the recession. As the cost of living soars it’s not surprising party members feel a bit awkward drinking champagne from a shoe. Gilmore’s creating enough of his own wind to fly a kite.

One politician who doesn’t mince his words is Gerry Adams who has notably replied to calls by the governments economic advisors for tougher budgets than those set out by Michael Noonan. What was the Sinn Fein leader’s response? “Get lost”. Well said.

In international news Angelina Jolie is also a whizz with words. The other half of Brangelina has recently visited Syria, not baby shopping but doing that other thing she does, saving the world! Whilst there she commented there was “much to be done” and called on the international population  to “do everything they can”. Thanks Ange.

More intelligent responses came from students in their Junior Cert, the results are in! In general Maths results were up but languages were lacking, could this signal an insular Ireland to come, separatism from international monetary markets and the ability to count just how much money we actually have in the bank?

With population figures taken into account Ireland came fourth in the Paralympics and earned a total of sixteen medals across London 2012. Not too shabby and a source of great pride to the whole country who welcomed our champions home with great ceremony and celebration. First stop the Late Late Show where the host managed to make a mockery of the whole thing and get Adam Nolan’s name wrong, repeatedly. He certainly wouldn’t want to meet the boxing champion in the ring after calling him Andy throughout the show causing Adam to take to Twitter to endorse the return of Pat Kenny. And the gold medal for prize prat goes to Ryan Tubridy.
Gluten free food for coeliac sufferers will no longer be paid for by the HSE. As the government continue to claw back the cash in cuts (€3.6m they estimate in gluten-free food), those who become ill from gluten in foods will be forced to cough up the cost themselves. With nothing to eat for energy it is unlikely coeliacs will mount the high-profile protest outside Leinster House that followed cuts to carers of the disabled.

Lady Gaga has a new hairdo and Robbie Williams has a new clothing line and luckily for us they’re both in Ireland this weekend! Gaga has flown in to perform her Born This Way tour whilst Robbie is stopping off at Brown Thomas to launch his ‘Jack Farrell’ label before playing the 02. Tickets to see Gaga will cost up to €96 while Robbie’s launch is invite only but of course both assure us they LOVE Ireland.

More exciting in Mallow Town in County Cork is the news that a public toilet is no nearer completion and starting to pee off councillors. Work began on the loo last October and is still not completed. “It’s not like we’re building the Taj Mahal,” commented one councillor.

News in Brief-Consumer Fear Decreasing While HSE Announces Major Cuts

After last week’s fear of the number thirteen putting the clamps on car buying, this week the Central Statistics Office reports Irish consumer fear is in fact decreasing. We’re increasingly more happy to splash the cash despite the recession being far from over. However rather than an indication of increased wealth these figures only represent the ‘sentiment’ of Irish shoppers, so we’re not crying over our cabbages anymore but we’re still far from boom buying.

The HSE has announced it is to make cuts worth €130 million over the remainder of the year in order to meet Troika’s targets and remain “within budget”. Furniture is listed as one of the areas the executive plans to cut back as well as advertising those crazy, comfortable commercialists. More worrying education and training are also noted as being for the chop. Where will we go when our Doctors don’t know what they’re doing? And where will we sit?!
Apparently 79% of elderly people who live alone do not have internet access, according to the Central Statistics Office (those guys!). Is this news? Age Action Ireland obviously think so. A representative is quoted by thejournal.ie as saying the findings are “worrying”, what because they don’t know what’s trending at the moment? They don’t know what a face book is? The poor sods. Lack of access also causes “barriers for older people to upskill in IT”. Just what we need, more job competition. What a load of . . .

Talking of which Elvis Presley’s unwashed underpants are up for auction. Expected to reach €13,000 next week in Stockport, Cheshire the pants were part of one of Presley’s stage outfits designed to prevent a VPL (visible panty line, for those not versed in the frustrations of fashionistas everywhere.) If only I had a spare €13,000 – then I’d have a spare €13,000.

Back in Ireland it’s Electric Picnic weekend! Hurrah! The final festival of the season and it’s bound to be a good one. Festival survival guides suggest bringing along the usual sun cream, wet weather gear and allow plenty of time for travel. Happy campers are also advised only 48 cans of alcohol per person are allowed. That’s sixteen cans each evening Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If you do manage to get through that lot, festival organisers have advised that alcohol will be available for purchase on site. Thank god.
It is officially silly season – especially after all those pints – the time of the year when with politicians set to out-of-office the media is full of frivolous drivel and a general stupid stupor descends until Christmas. No more so than the Essex lion that stalked Clacton on Monday igniting the nationwide intrigue as well as a hastily created Essex lion twitter account. A mass scrambling of police searching out the beast was called off when it turned out to be a house cat.
Advertisements
Advertisements