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Connacht Tribune

Waiting lists for cataract surgery hit 30 months

Denise McNamara

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Children in Galway West are waiting two years for an appointment to see a cataract specialist – nearly three times the wait for under-12s in the east of the county.

The situation for adults is even more frustrating. In Galway West the waiting time for public cataract surgery is 30 months – six months longer than in Galway East.

The survey of eye services carried out by optometrists found that Galway East eye patients are faring better than other parts of the country, with waiting times of two years for adults and nine months for children.

The wait for children in Galway West was one of the longest in the country.

The average waiting time for adults across the country was 29 months – but in West Cork it was an astonishing five years.

The shortest delay of 14 months was in the constituency of Sligo and Leitrim, where a scheme is in place involving greater co-working between optometrists and the hospital eye department.

Private patients were able to access cataract surgery within three months.

The second annual survey by the Association of Optometrists Ireland (AOI) found that the average wait for public cataract surgery nationally increased by one month since last year.

There was a 74% increase in patients travelling to Northern Ireland to avail of the Cross Border Directive for Cataract Surgery over the past 12 months.

Over 60% of respondents said that their local HSE office or clinic did not have arrangements for them to provide an eye examination to children aged 8-12 if discharged from the HSE service. Just under a third did while 11% were not clear on local arrangements.

Galway East TD and Minister for Rural Affairs Seán Canney said the survey highlights systemic problems in waiting times for treatment.

“Cataracts are highly debilitating for older people but operations can be transformative in terms of quality of life.

“In Sligo, optometrists examined patients in the community at the same time as they were getting appointments for their glasses’ prescription. This not only makes the process more efficient but saves money.”

He urges those languishing on waiting list to apply to the National Treatment Purchase Fund for treatment.

AOI President Patricia Dunphy said the survey showed the urgent need for the Minister for Health to intervene and affect an overhaul of eye care services.

Connacht Tribune

Galway West TD branded ‘racist’ in the Dáil

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – A Galway West TD has been branded racist in the Dail today during leaders questions, after questioning the amount of money being sent from Ireland to Nigeria.

Independent TD Noel Grealish raised the subject of the large sums of money being transferred abroad in personal remittances.

During his speech in the chamber, Deputy Grealish spoke of how €10 billion has been sent abroad in personal remittance over the past eight years.

According to figures presented by him, the countries that receive the most transfers are Poland at €1.5 billion, the UK at €2.7 billion and Nigeria at €3.54 billion.

Responding to the Galway TD, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that the Irish people have a long history of sending money home.

Then, heated scenes erupted in the Chamber as Deputy Grealish called for stricter controls on personal remittance, with Deputy Ruth Coppinger accusing the Galway TD of ‘disgraceful racism’.

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Connacht Tribune

Coffey Construction gets temporary injunction against firm

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A civil engineering company has secured a temporary High Court injunction preventing security operatives from blockading the entrance of the firm’s Athenry-based headquarters.

Coffey Construction Limited secured the interim order yesterday against receiver David O’Connor of the firm BDO in respect of a blockade that began earlier this week at Moanbaun, Athenry.

The High Court heard that arising from a dispute over Coffey Construction’s lease on the property, last Tuesday morning 15 security guards with two large white vans and dogs physically blocked vehicular access to Coffey Construction’s HQ.

The court heard that the company fears that the blockade, which it says is unlawful, will be damaging and will possibly drive it to insolvency if allowed continue.

Counsel said it’s Coffey’s case that it has a valid lease, for which it pays €100,000 per year, for the premises.

He said that the security guards on the blockade, who describe themselves as bailiffs did not carry any mandatory identification or licence numbers as required under the Private Security Services Act.

The matter has been reported to the Private Security Authority, counsel said.

Coffey Construction has 280 employees, 88 of whom are based in Athenry.

Counsel said the workers were eventually able to gain access to the premises.

However, they have to park over 2.5km away, which presents health and safety concerns to the employees, especially at this time of year.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Tony O’Connor granted orders including one restraining the defendants and his agents from restricting the company’s access to the property at Moanbaun, Athenry.

Noting the evidence put before the court the judge said he was satisfied to grant the orders sought.

The case will return before the court next week.

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Connacht Tribune

Donkey foals on the double!

Francis Farragher

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Sean Martyn and his granddaughter Robbyn Kelly (3) and her friend and neighbour Oisín Diskin (3), with two week old twin baby donkeys Seachtai and Jackie. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

IT can happen . . . and it does happen . . . but it’s still a rarity in the animal world when a female donkey gives birth to twins that survive.

Monivea farmer, Seán Martyn, could hardly believe his eyes on the Thursday morning of October 24 last when his eleven-year-old jenny gave birth to two healthy ‘boys’.

“I knew that she was coming close to her time so I went in for ‘the fry’ in the morning and when I came out about three-quarters of an hour later, the three of them were there in the field hale and hearty,” Seán Martyn told the Connacht Tribune.

The twin male foals were the first offspring of Seán’s donkey – called Number Seven – and he had no idea that she was expecting twins.

“From what we can gather, only 1.5% of expectant donkeys give birth to twins and of that number only 10% of them survive as twins – one of them normally dies.

“We’re all thrilled with the arrivals and already they’re getting a lot of attention from neighbours, friends and family. They are beautiful animals,” said Seán Martyn.

Over the years, Seán has been involved in the breeding of horses and donkeys but he never dreamt of any twins arriving – they’ve now been christened Jackie and Seachtai.

It is very much an on-farm family with the daddy being a younger jackass,    conveniently known as Jack, who is also part of the Martyn family of animals.

See full story and pictures in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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