Forgot the camera so no pics, sorry. But it was miserable. Pouring rain. Not a huge turnout, though respectable considering the weather. Many sitting and wanna-be politicians turned out. Even some lesser spotted Fianna Fáil candidates stuck their heads up over the parapet for while. It's a wonder they could tear themselves away from listening to the radio which, it seems to me, they have been haunting for the past few weeks.
But the most hilarious thing was the call by Dick Roche yesterday on the radio for people not to politicise the march; I mean, seriously.......Dick Roche. Pot....kettle? Wood.....trees? The man has usurped every activity of the WCTU over the past few years and claimed them all for his own personal cv. If I was a member of WCTU I'd be fairly peed off with Dick I can tell you. I actually laughed out loud! For those who don't know Dick Roche is a former Socialist Workers Party candidate, running in Waterford North. He is or was (I'm not sure) also centrally involved with WCTU.
I wish these FFrs had the courage of their convictions.
Anyway, back to St Patricks and the march. In the end (obviously) I went. I owe it to the staff and patients. I totally agree with their stand that the new 50 bed unit should be built before any bed is closed. I too have had occasion to visit St. Patricks and a close relative of mine spent time and passed away there. But I have to put on record that I hate it when people use their elderly relatives as if they have some sort of a vote currency value in the election. It's like a poker game of "I'll see your gran-aunt and raise you my mother"! I think it's tasteless and disrespectful. The whole community needs St Patricks with as many beds as we can have, whether you have family there or not. And lets face it, we all hope it won't come to that. Not with a waiting list of over 200 and no new admissions since January anyway. It really is a disgrace.
I would also advise against the campaign associating themselves too closely with one party. It's election time and parties have ulterior motives for their support.
Unfortunately, on the St. Bridgets Ward issue I don't believe that anything anybody does will move the HSE. The march today, whether with 400 or 40,000 will make no difference to them. It's all about cost; the bottom line and I believe they will push ahead with the closure regardless of public opinion. Have they changed their minds anywhere? Any ward? Any hospital? They just trot out their '50 bed unit fantasy'.
And I note that Ms Harney has (finally) agreed to meet the local Oireachtas representatives next Tuesday. Could it be that there is an election in the offing? Some platitudes will issue no doubt to try and tide 'de party' over the line. Until after June 5th. Then they'll go the way of all other FF promises. Down the drain with the rainwater of this miserable May day. Cheers!