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Health body urged not to ‘farm out’ MRI scans



The Health Service Executive (HSE) has been urged to cease the tendering process that would result in a private company being awarded the contract to carry out MRI scans in the public hospital at Merlin Park.

West Regional Health Forum member, city councillor Catherine Connolly (Ind), says the tender process underway for an imaging service at Merlin Park should be “reviewed, with a view to having it stopped”.

Cllr Connolly says that there is “no need for private companies to profit on public property”. She says that the HSE should operate the MRI service itself, through the public health system and not by ‘farming it out’ to a private for profit company. She has raised this issue consistently since becoming a councillor.

Cllr Connolly said that in 2013, she was aware of a woman who was dying, and was waiting on the list for 10 days before getting an MRI scan.

The woman was on a ‘priority list’ along with some 30 other public patients – the list actually swelled to more than 40 waiting for priority scans.

In 2010, under the previous service level agreement between the public hospital and private firm that operated the imaging service at Merlin Park, public patients were not given scans between midnight and 8am, she said.

Cllr Connolly said that the previous agreement was “bad for patients”.

“It came about, in my opinion, because they were trying to run-down the public health service. They were deliberately running-down the public health service in favour of for-profit health and private hospitals. That’s why during the boom we had theatres closed, beds that were closed and wards closed, while all the time public money through the National Treatment Purchase Fund diverted to private hospitals,” she said.

She made the comments in response to a report the HSE gave Cllr Connolly on foot of a series of questions in relation to the nature of contracts between the HSE and private MRI scans firm.

Cllr Connolly said that the report didn’t give any of the detail that she had asked.

“It begs the question, what else are they not telling us and what other agreements like this, that are bad for the public health system, are in place that they aren’t telling us?” she asked.


Cigarettes, drugs and cash seized in Galway



Officers from the Divisional Drugs Unit seized more than €73,000 worth of cigarettes, cash and drugs after a car and residence were searched in Galway today.
As part of Operation Tara – which is targeting the sale and supply of drugs and related criminal activity in the Galway area – Gardaí  searched a car in the Knocknacarra area. Cash and cannabis were seized.

A follow up search was carried out at a residence in Salthill, where cigarettes worth €70,000, along with €3,100 in cash and a small quantity of suspected amphetamine were recovered.

No arrests were made, but Gardaí say they are following a definite line of inquiry.

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Connacht Tribune

Eyrecourt tune makes it to Hollywood in Jig time



A tune composed to celebrate the twinning of Eyrecourt in south-east Galway with Gouesnach in France is to feature in a new film.

Written by Niall Crehan, ‘The Eyrecourt Jig’ made quite a splash when it was released in 2013 and is still popular in music sessions up and down the country.

Niall had been commissioned to write the tune for the 20th anniversary of the twinning of the two villages, Eyrecourt and Gouesnach.

So, when he had a small part as a fiddler in a TV film called Royal Rendevouz, he started playing the jig.

The producers were so impressed, they added it to the movie soundtrack and it will appear in the credits.

Niall is a member of a celebrated traditional Irish musical dynasty hailing originally from County Clare.

He is the youngest son of whistle and concertina player Vincent Crehan and nephew of renowned fiddler Junior Crehan.

Niall and his brother Kieran ran the Dublin shop Crehan Musical instruments until his early retirement.

Now living in Kildare, Niall is a cousin of publican Mick Crehan, who runs the renowned folk pub in the west end of Galway, The Crane.

Niall and the large army of musicians in the extended family are regular guests.

His brother Dermot got music playing parts on films such as the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter and he managed to get Niall onto the likes of Downton Abbey.

This latest TV project is the latest foray into the world of film, explains his son Brian.

The story centres on an American chef who is invited to an Irish manor to cook a feast in order to convince the matriarch not to sell the home.

It premieres on Sunday, February 26 at 9pm on the E! Network starring Isabella Gomez, Ruairi O’Connor and Ronan Raftery.

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Connacht Tribune

‘No show’ TDs criticised at County Galway policing committee meeting



A county councillor has launched a stinging criticism of Oireachtas members for their repeated failure to attend County Galway Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meetings.

At a meeting of the JPC on Monday, Cllr Michael ‘Moegie’ Maher (photographed) said he believed it was time the three TDs on the committee decided if they wanted to remain, or give their place up to someone who would make use of it.

“I am asking the Council to write out to our Oireachtas members and ask them do they want to be on this JPC or not, and if not, let someone else be on it,” blasted the Fine Gael councillor.

This followed repeated non-appearances from TDs representing the Oireachtas on the committee – the three representatives are Deputy Noel Grealish (Ind), Deputy Anne Rabbitte (FF) and Deputy Catherine Connolly (Ind).

Cllr Maher said the JPC, which sits around five times per year, was deliberately held on a Mondays to facilitate Oireachtas members who were in the Dáil later in the week. He said there were issues being raised regularly that required raising at a national level and it was incumbent on national representatives to bring those matters back to Dublin.

One such issue was the use of CCTV in the pursuit of illegal dumpers and travelling crime gangs, said Cllr Maher who is Cathaoirleach of the County Council.

“I would like our members of the Oireachtas to be taking the message back on CCTV,” he added, as representatives locally were getting no further as a result of data protection laws.

None of the three Oireachtas members were present for this week’s meeting. Chair of the JPC, Cllr Jim Cuddy, confirmed he had received an apology from Deputy Catherine Connolly.

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