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Connacht Tribune

Clean bill of health for mental health facility

Stephen Corrigan



The mental health unit at St Brigid’s Healthcare Campus in Ballinasloe has received a glowing report from the Mental Health Commission in inspection reports published this week.

The Creagh Suite was noted as having a number of “best practice” initiatives in place when inspectors called – reaching a compliance with regulations level of 97%, a significant improvement on 73% in 2018.

The 14-bed unit had 14 compliance regulations that were rated “excellent”, including the provision of individual care plans; the provision of information and regulation; and privacy.

The report remarks: “The enthusiasm and commitment to delivering a quality service was evident”.

At the time of inspection, just nine of the unit’s 14 beds were filled. The centre is described as “a long-stay, continuing-care facility for residents living with dementia and experiencing psychological and behavioral symptoms of that illness”.

There was only one area where Creagh was sub-standard and that was staffing – with some staff not trained in areas they should have been, including fire safety; basic life support; management of violence and aggression; or in the mandatory training in Mental Health Act 2001.

However, the inspection did find that “mechanical restraint” was only used where a resident posed an enduring risk of harm to themselves or to others, or to address a clinical need.

“It was only used when less restrictive alternatives were not suitable. Its use was compliant with the rules governing the use of seclusion and mechanical restraint”.

The risk level associated with the rate of non-compliance on staffing had been identified as “moderate” in 2017 and 2018, but had improved to “low” this year.

Therapeutic services and programmes provided by the service were said to be “evidence-based”, reflective of good practice guidelines and “met and assessed the needs of residents, as documented in the residents’ individual care plan”.

“Activities provided included hand massage; dance therapy; art therapy; life story work; one-to-one social work; psychology; occupational therapy; medical and nursing. Chiropody; podiatry; speech and language; therapy; and dietetics were also provided for. A record was maintained of participation, engagement and outcomes achieved in therapeutic services or programmes, within residents’ clinical files.”

It was stated that accommodation for residents comprised of two three-bed rooms; two double rooms and four single rooms.

“Resident bedrooms were personalised, and they were clean and bright. There was a spacious and well-equipped dining room which was also used for recreational and therapy activities. There was a multi-sensory room for residents and a conservatory-style day room opposite the dining room. Residents in the approved centre had access to a secure, dementia-friendly garden.”

The inspection report for St Brigid’s Ballinasloe was published alongside those of Lakeview Unit in Naas, Co Kildare, and the mental health unit is St Brigid’s Hospital in Ardee, Co Louth – both of which had registered a high volume of non-compliance.

Inspectors visited Creagh Unit over a three day period, using a combination of document review, observation of practices and interview to access compliance with the regulations.

They endeavour to speak to residents to find out about their experience; talk with staff and management to find out how they plan, deliver and monitor the care and support services that are provided to people living in the centre; observe daily practice to ensure what they are being told is happening in practice; and review documents to see if appropriate records are being kept in line with the standards they are being told exist.

Commenting on the findings, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Commission John Farrelly said this batch of inspections had identified inconsistencies across the country in the provision of mental health services.

“The contrast between a centre with 97% compliance in Galway and less than satisfactory findings in Louth and Kildare is stark.

“The Commission’s evidence is that the mental health service is inconsistent across the county despite being run by the same provider [the HSE]. This indicates a deficit in the governance and management of our mental health services,” said Mr Farrelly.

The management of Creagh Unit will now have to provide a corrective and preventative action plan to address concerns raised over staff training.

Connacht Tribune

Galway County Council issues flood warning

Enda Cunningham



Galway County Council is making sandbags available to people in various parts of the county due to the threat of flooding.

Already, rainfall has almost quadrupled on this time last year –with already saturated ground has led to an increased threat of flooding.

Met Éireann have reported a 180-300% increase in rainfall when compared with same period 2019.

A Council statement reads: “Soil moisture readings are indicating saturated ground conditions for much of the country.

“Met Éireann have advised that the current regime of periods of high intensity rainfall will possibly be a feature of our weather over the next 14 days.

“As the ground is already saturated, the cumulative rainfall forecasted will increase the threat of both fluvial and pluvial flooding events throughout the county.

“The OPW have indicated that the river network has responded to the recent rainfall since Storm Ciara, with 9% of all river gauges registering above median flood levels.  It is expected that all river catchments will see further rises due to the forecasted rainfall over the next 14 days, with both fluvial and pluvial events possible anywhere in the county.

“Spring tides are expected over the weekend, but no issues are expected.

“The Council is making sand bags available for collection by those whose properties are in vulnerable areas, please contact your local area office, during office hours (9am – 5pm).”

Athenry/Oranmore: 091 – 509088
Ballinasloe North & South: 091 – 509074
Conamara North (Clifden): 091 – 509095
Conamara South (An Cheathrú Rua): 091 – 509060
Loughrea: 091 – 509166
Gort: 091 – 509065
Portumna:  090 – 9741019
Tuam:  091 – 509011

The Council said the key message is for people to stay safe.

“Heavy rainfall currently being experienced is making driving conditions hazardous and drivers need to take extreme care and watch out cyclists and pedestrians and for the potential of flying debris, fallen trees and powerlines.

“Galway County Council Crisis Management Team are continuing to monitor these current weather conditions.”

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Connacht Tribune

Words in the one language can get lost in translation

Dave O'Connell



Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

You’d be fairly deluded to see the upside of stormy weather – but if any joy could be drawn from the recent Storm Ciara, it was in the efforts of our English friends to pronounce it.

Even a handful of staff at the BBC – an organisation with its own Pronunciation Unit – got it hopelessly wrong as often as it got it right. So instead of Keera, it was Key-ara, just one small step from Ki-Ora as though an orange squash had engulfed the land.

You’d wonder if that was the devilment at play when the storm was originally named, following a poll hosted by Met Éireann on Twitter – coming up with something that would at least give us a laugh in the midst of a blackout?

Adding fuel to that particular fire was that the Chair of the European Storm Naming Group is none other than Evelyn Cusack, Head of Forecasting at Met Éireann and a woman blessed with a wicked sense of humour.

That’s not to say that Evelyn doesn’t take her job extremely seriously, because she does – and the colour-coded weather warnings are indicative of that.

But she also has a good sense of perspective – so ensuring there’s a strong Irish dimension to this shared naming process between ourselves, the UK and the Netherlands would be right up her street.

In fairness to any devilment in Evelyn, there’s an even greater danger with these things if you leave it to the general public – as evidenced by names suggested by the public (and rejected by the UK Met Office) including Vader, Voldemort, Baldrick and Noddy.

Indeed, according to the London Times, among the other suggestions turned down was that one of the storms could be called Inateacup.

So instead, we get to name a few, the Brits get to name and good few and the Dutch throw in their tuppence worth as well.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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

FF is stuck between a rock and a hard place




Crunch time...FF leader Micheal Martin.

World of Politics with Harry McGee –

Anyone who has ever run a marathon knows that, somewhere around the 35km mark, you hit hell – and even when you finish it, the first reaction is ‘never again’…until a few months later they convince themselves it was not that bad, and sure, they might even go again.

And as it is with marathons in the sporting sense, so too in the political sphere – as we’re once again discovering.

Back in 2016, government formation took 70 days – and here we are with another marathon to a tortuous haul over the line.

And to be honest, we’re a long way from resolution.

Fianna Fáil says it will not go into government with Sinn Féin. Fine Gael says it will not go into government with either Sinn Féin or Fianna Fáil. Sinn Féin is exploring a government with the left but the name of the game for the party is some kind of arrangement with Fianna Fáil.

That’s not what Fianna Fáil wants. It wants a grand coalition (even though the two formerly biggest parties are considerably less grand after the election) involving Fine Gael, plus the Greens or Social Democrats or both.

Fine Gael does not want any arrangement. It wants to lead the opposition. But if every other combination bites the dirt, it might be reluctantly willing to talk to Fianna Fáil in terms of some form of coalition arrangement.

Every single suggested arrangement involves a massive fundamental shock to all the parties – but particularly to Fianna Fáil.

The party was the biggest loser in the election. It was expected to make gains, but it ended up losing seven seats, plus some of its brightest TDs, including Lisa Chambers, Fiona O’Loughlin and Declan Breathnach.

Now it faces stark choices on all fronts.

It’s been nearly a decade out of power and needs to go back in – but it has been much weakened and if it goes into government it will not go in as the dominant partner.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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