Pádraig, Maurice: Galway hospitals’ Tom and Jerry

City councillor, Padraig Conneely (left), is distraught at the fact he hasn’t had the opportunioty to butt heads with the Saolta University Hospital Group chief, Maurice Power (right) in a public forum.
City councillor, Padraig Conneely (left), is distraught at the fact he hasn’t had the opportunioty to butt heads with the Saolta University Hospital Group chief, Maurice Power (right) in a public forum.

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column by Dara Bradley

The game of cat and mouse between City Councillor Pádraig Conneely, and Maurice Power, the head of Saolta University Hospital Group, is an entertaining sideshow to our crumbling health services.

Maurice the Mouse, the head honcho of health locally, has responsibility for University Hospital Galway and Merlin Park.

Pádraig the Pussycat is a self-appointed guardian of patients, and voice of the people, and sees it as his job to hold management to account.

Pádraig the Pussycat has been frothing at the mouth to get Maurice the Mouse to a meeting of the HSE West Regional Health Forum.

It is in that public arena where Conneely claws his prey and scolds hospital officials for whatever the health failing of the day happens to be.

Ann Cosgrove, Chief Operating Officer of Saolta, and Tony Canavan, Chief Officer of HSE West, are the current incumbents who bear the brunt of the cranky councillor.

Perhaps tiring of toying with Ann and Tony – although they’re well able for him and give as good as they get – Pádraig again tried to force Maurice to attend a HSE forum meeting to question him. No such luck.

There was no show again from Maurice this week, despite Pádraig formally requesting he be there.

And while it was explained – again – that Ann and Tony are more than capable of providing answers, the pussycat was puce on Tuesday.

“The buck stops with him . . . we are here to hold him to account . . . he doesn’t want to be accountable . . . I’ve written two letters . . . Where is he? No show, no accountability,” roared Pádraig, feigning outrage at the injustice of Maurice’s absence.

Of course, it is not true to say that Maurice hasn’t attended any forum meeting since he took up office around three years ago. Maurice did show up once last year – when Pádraig was in sickbay and couldn’t attend!

A coincidence? Not according to Conneely’s conspiracy.

“I was sick, in my pyjamas, in a bed in UHG, and couldn’t go to the meeting. He knew it and that’s the only one he’s ever been to,” he snorted.

Pádraig nearly cornered Maurice during Minister Simon Harris’ visit to UHG last week, but apparently, Houdini would have been proud of the manager’s escapology in the hospital corridors.

“He saw me,” he said. “But he was banging into doors and darting away from me; he was running into doors, running away from me. He didn’t want to get stuck with me. I could see he was avoiding me,” added Pádraig.

If they ever they do cross paths at the forum, you’d raise enough money to build a new Emergency Department by selling ring-side seats at a premium price.

For more,  read this week’s Galway City Tribune.