Letters to the Editor

You don't need to die to suffer effects of highly poisonous gas

Carbon monoxide is a major cause or death, but it is also a cause of sickness. You do not need to die to suffer the effects of a highly poisonous gas. This silent killer is predominately associated with gas appliances and other closed environments where fumes are a factor. Around 40 people die from CO poisoning every year in Ireland, but many others may be suffering the ill effects falling short of actual death. The gas builds up in the blood and starves the body of oxygen and organs, including the brain if it reaches certain levels. It not only kills quickly but can cause chronic health problems such as organ damage. Emergency symptoms include: Oxygen starvation (severe breathing difficulties); total collapse, falling down suddenly; heart problems; disorientation; and associated weakness; dizziness; nausea; vomiting; headache; quasi flu (sniffles). In addition to potentially and array of other medical problems caused by the highly poisonous gas to the bloodstream. It shuts down the body and brain by depriving the bloodstream of oxygen and thereby smothering it and leaving it in dangerously venerable situation. Gas cookers give off a small amount of gas before jets are ignited. This has the potential to build up significantly and reach a dangerous levels, as can other gas appliances  –  serviced or not. It is always advisable to open a window to let a premises breathe after gas appliances have been used and during their use. Unknown leaks can also be a factor and difficult to locate without specialist equipment or what are known as electronic noses. Old pipes and appliances, defective valves, and inadequate ventilation can make any home or premises into a death trap and other closed environment. Gas and its lethal by-product carbon monoxide should be treated great caution and is certainly one of our major health and fatality problems. We need to take it a lot more seriously than we have been doing. It represents a very serious risk to our lives and well-being, so let us take a closer look at gas and its safety  –  gas users could be shorting their lives and gassing themselves to death.  

Shanbally, Co Cork


Fundamental flaw in allocation of social care resources

The additional monies to be allocated to GPs is to be welcomed. The reason given for this is due to demographic changes.
No-one can dispute this.

However, there is a more fundamental flaw in the allocation process of our health and social care resources.
Some 20 years ago the now defunct

Eastern Health and Social  Services Board commissioned a report from

Sheffield University which concluded that all monies should be allocated on the basis of social need and provided a template as to how this should be actioned. The Eastern Board’s response that they would seek to address it over time which they never did. 

One may ask how does this affect the man in the street? Every so often we hear from statistics about the level of deprivation in various electoral wards of Northern Ireland. The same wards mentioned in the 1970s are still named to-day. From deprivation comes higher  levels of morbidity, mental health difficulties and early mortality. How does this one may ask  impact upon the allocation of Health and Social Care resources? 

Generally,  if you are a 50-year-old in an area of low or no deprivation your demands on health and social care will be almost negligible. Whereas if you are 50-year-old who has lived all their life time without work, low education achievement and poor housing/environment your physical and mental health will be seriously impacted upon placing early and additional demands on health and social care. 

Allocating resources on the basis of population density without taking into account the levels of deprivation further disadvantages the people from these areas and awards disproportionately to those in less need.
The early onset of morbidity and mortality must also be factored in as allocating finance based on demographics alone further disadvantages the people from our most deprived areas.
After all this time one would think that the health and social care authorities would be more responsive in this field. The old cynic in me may conclude there are  other reasons afoot.    

Belfast BT12


National freedom an inalienable right

In welcoming the open letter to An Taoiseach, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood (December 15) stated: “It was right to identify the Irish  government’s role and responsibility when it comes to guaranteeing our... birth right of an Irish identity and the rights which should and do come with it.”

Our fundamental and inalienable right is the right to national freedom, the right to be governed as Irish citizens through our own national parliament. In short, our right to nationhood.

However, according to the SDLP leader, “The only way our fundamental rights as Irish citizens will be delivered is through the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement.”

Compare that with the words of Charles Stewart Parnell. “No man has the right to fix the boundary of a nation. No man has the right to say to his country [or to fellow Irish in NI], “Thus far shalt thou go and no further”, and we have never attempted to fix the “ne plus ultra” to the progress of Ireland’s nationhood, and we never shall.”

To repeat, Irish nationhood for Irish people here and now. British nationhood for the Ulster British people. Trying to persuade them of the ‘merits’ of a united Ireland is an insult to their British identity and their right to be accepted as British.

Belfast BT15


Not much will have changed by 2029

I had a dream that I woke and it was 2029. Nationalists had finally given up the struggle for a united Ireland – it had happened. A loyalist backlash had been nipped in the bud when the new Dublin government promised extra resources to ease the backlog in Irish passport applications. Gerry Adams’s expectation to become president had been downgraded to the Old IRA Boys Club although he is finding it hard to convince them he was ever a member. The DUP had disbanded in disgust, refusing to be associated with incompetence and bad practice – anymore. Still, most did OK. Gregory Campbell runs a thriving curried yogurt business. Arlene Foster sells the leftover whitewash from the RHI Inquiry and Nelson McCausland  authored a self-help book – Red Sky Hey. Away from politics, Stephen Nolan has the biggest show in the country, Stormont remains a centre for the unemployed and Slaughtneil recently built a bypass round their trophy cabinet. Irish News news includes the retirement of Alex Kane which left room for four new media jobs, three of which were claimed by Newton Emerson. Allison Morris and Fionnuala O Connor joined a feminist collective.
Sinn Féin briefly got the power they’d sold their soul for only for them to realise they had no idea what to do with it.
You can still find deflated Shinners yearning for the good old days of partition. Dáil Éireann has become an even greater hotbed of bickering, back stabbing and mud slinging – just the way we like it.

Belfast BT11


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