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€250,000 cost to keep man ‘prisoner’ in hospital ward



Date Published: 01-Jul-2010

By Dara Bradley


The HSE has spent up to €250,000 hiring a private security firm to prevent a man in the city from leaving a hospital ward where he is being treated for an acute TB condition.

The Galway City Tribune revealed in June last year that the man, who is in his 30s, was being forcibly detained at an isolation unit at University Hospital Galway (UHG) because it was feared he could spread the highly infectious disease if allowed into the community.

The Galway City Tribune has now learned that – approximately 18 months after he was first detained – the patient is still living in an isolated unit at the city hospital and is still being guarded by security personnel 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The patient has on previous occasions left hospital during the course of treatment for the disease which is now curable. Previous efforts to treat the patient ended in failure when he left the hospital against the advice and instructions of medics.

The patient has a record of absconding from hospital care and the Health Service Executive (HSE) are fearful that he could spread the TB infection to those who come into contact with him. It is understood the man had been homeless at various times before being admitted to hospital.

The HSE has declined to comment on the cost of hiring a private security company to restrain the man, but local security industry sources indicated that the cost of providing a security guard ‘24/7’ would be between €170,000 and €250,000 for the 18 months.

Chairperson of HSE West Regional Health Forum, City Councillor Pádraig Conneely said the HSE cannot continue to spend thousands of euro a week on private security at a time when, at the last count, 114 beds were closed at the hospital and the Emergency Department is in ‘chaos’, with scores of patients on trolleys overnight every week.

“It is a matter of grave concern to me that the HSE has spent a quarter of a million euro with a private security company to protect a patient in an isolation unit in a public ward. This is going on for a year and a half and there’s no end in sight – I would be mindful if a patient is ill, but surely a resolution can be found,” he said.


Last year the HSE confirmed to the Galway City Tribune that “a person who has tuberculosis is currently being detained in isolation under Section 38 of the Health Act, 1947, because there is a risk of transmission to other people”.

But in a statement yesterday the health authority said: “It is not appropriate for the HSE to talk about individual patients.”

For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune


Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.


For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup



Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

Athenry FC 1

Kilbarrack United 2

(After extra time)

For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.

On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.

An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.

However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.

They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.

With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.

Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.

Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.

Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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