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Better off hypochondriac than a complacent corpse

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Charlie Adley

Double Vision with Charlie Adley

My friend Soldier Boy is in hospital. Five days ago he woke up with the worst pain he’d ever endured and headed off to A &E, where he was admitted with a suspected kidney stone.

After being told to fast, so that they could operate on him, he slept the first night on a trolley in A&E’s corridor (correction: he didn’t sleep, because he was on a trolley in A&E’s corridor!) since which he’s been on a ward, fasting every day, hoping that the operation might happen.

At 9pm each day the doctor has come around and told him that the operation wouldn’t be happening that day, so he doesn’t need to fast any more, but he has to fast from midnight as they might operate on him the next day. Soldier Boy then has three hours to try to eat something, after the hospital kitchen is closed.

For the first few days he was quite understandably in a rage, but now he seems accepting of the process.

“I’m in a washing machine, Charlie. I have to wait for the end of the cycle.”

I have been a very poor visitor, my platitudes feeding his rage, his rage making me wish I wasn’t there.

At the age of 17 I spent six weeks on an orthopaedic ward, after snapping both my femur and tibia in two. Hospital days start early, then seem to drag on forever. You dream of the calm and quiet of the night but, when darkness finally falls, one of the patients on your ward throws a crazy fit and robs your sleep, until you’re longing for the daylight again.

For a while I was that crazy guy. They put me on four-hourly morphine injections which had me screaming shouting crying out in opiate-fuelled delirium. I felt as if I was clinging to the ceiling, looking down on the ward.

After a few days one of the lads further down the ward told me that there was a plot to kill me. Driven demented by my explosive vocals, the other patients had decided that if I didn’t shut up at night, there’d be one morning when I might not wake up.

Incentivised somewhat by that vital little sliver of info, I refused to take any more painkillers. I was going be in pain for months anyway, so I might as well get used to it.

What seemed to a teenager like a singularly sensible and conveniently macho decision has taken its toll on my life, because during the ensuing weeks, I built a tolerance to pain that has ill-served me.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune

Connacht Tribune

Decentralisation finally comes to pass almost two decades on

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Remote working...a reality at last.

World of Politics with Harry McGee – harrymcgee@gmail.com

Back in December 2003, Minister for Finance Charlie McCreevy pulled off what looked like a sensational coup when he turned his Budget speech into a dramatic announcement on decentralisation.

McCreevy announced he was going to move the headquarters of most Government departments and some agencies out of Dublin and into the provinces – and with it, 10,300 public employees.

On Budget Day, his fellow Ministers made huge hay about departments and agencies coming to their constituencies.

Tom Parlon, the Offaly TD and OPW Minister at the time, organised posters to be erected all over his constituency proclaiming: “This is Parlon Country”.

The Departments of Defence and An Ghaeltacht both established larger presences in Galway; the OPW moved to Trim, Co Meath; the Department of Arts and Tourism mainly moved to Killarney; and the Road Safety Authority moved to Ballina.

But from early on there was resistance. Public service unions kicked up and demanded relocation money. Many Dublin-based public servants did not want to move, especially among the senior ranks.

There were skill deficits when people left specialist roles in Dublin to move down the country, or when they refused to leave, leaving the Department (now rural-based) without technical staff.

The scheme was a great one, but it was half-baked in that it was sprung on everybody by surprise without thinking through all the consequences.

McCreevy might have been better introducing it more gradually and with more consultation (even though with the public service that can take many years, and drive you to the madhouse).

Still, thousands of public servants were able to move into rural Ireland, into provincial cities and towns because of it.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Luckless Kenny needs breaks as Irish football in a bad state

John McIntyre

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Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny who is still seeking his first win after eight matches in charge.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

The past few years have been tough times for Irish football – on and off the field. The FAI, the sport’s beleaguered administrators (or should I say administrator given John Delaney’s long-time staggering grip on power) was something of a basket case as the Association stands rightfully accused of neglecting the game’s grassroots.

On the field, the Republic of Ireland have continued to suffer an unchecked decline in fortunes – highlighted by that 5-1 home humiliation against Denmark in the second leg of the World Cup play-off in November of 2017. They subsequently missed out on qualification for Euro 2020 when losing on penalties to Slovakia last October.

Ireland have plummeted down the world rankings – they are currently trailing in 42nd position, behind the likes of Algeria and Australia, with little prospect of a significant revival in the medium term. Who’d want to be their manager in such circumstances? Unfortunately, Stephen Kenny has drawn the short straw in this regard.

And because the Dubliner is a home-grown boss of the international team, he was never going to be cut the same slack as his immediate predecessors, Martin O’Neill, whose innate tactical conservatism and spikey manner did him no favours towards the end of his reign, and Mick McCarthy, whose latest managerial stint in Cyprus barely lasted a couple of months.

Delaney had conjured up a convoluted succession plan where Kenny would leave his Ireland U20 post to take over from McCarthy after the Euro qualifiers, but Covid intervened leaving Kenny to salvage the Republic’s campaign. Unfortunately, he can’t buy a break in the job and the pressure is mounting.

The coronavirus disrupted his team selection on several occasions, while injuries were no help either. The bare facts are that Kenny has been in charge of eight matches, but is still seeking his first victory. Furthermore, Ireland have only managed a solitary goal in that time which must be an all-time low.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Obituaries; the story of a life – told at the death

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Younger people think newspaper obituaries are just for older readers – a kind of version of the line about the elderly reading the death notices to check if they’re alive for another day.

How short-sighted they are, if that’s their take – because obits can be among the liveliest, most entertaining parts of the paper.

They take different tones of course; we tend to be more respectful; more of an appreciation than a critique, and normally written with the permission and oversight of at least a family member.

Those writing for a national or international audience tend to be less circumspect in their analysis of a celebrity’s lifetime – in part for the very reason of their fame.

In other words, the person must be well-known or at least at the head of their field, in order to justify an obituary in the first place – and therefore it’s in effect an evaluation of their life and legacy; the story of a life, told at the death.

That doesn’t mean it has to be reverential or funereal in tone; an injection of humour or context is important if it’s to properly reflect the life and contribution of the subject.

Take a few recent opening paragraphs, marking the passing of these people who ranged from household names to half well-known – like this socialite who was largely famous for being famous and for knowing other famous people.

“Marguerite Littman was beside the pool at the Hotel Cipriani in Venice with Tennessee Williams when a cadaverous girl came shambling past wearing a bikini.

“‘Look, anorexia nervosa,’ Littman said to her companion. ‘Oh, Marguerite, you know everyone,’ came Williams’s reply.”

And it may be apocryphal but it’s still funny – but more critically, you’re suddenly hooked to learn more about a woman you’d probably never heard of.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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