Republican News · Thursday 5 October 1999

[An Phoblacht]

Thank you, Áine

A Chairde,

I would like, through the medium of your newspaper, to express thanks on behalf of myself, and the Sinn Féin party to Áine Ní Chonnaill of the Immigration Control Platform for mentioning me during her deliberations on the Clonakilty Asylum Seekers feature on last Friday night's ``Late Late Show''.

This spectacular piece of publicity, which I hasten to add, was not sought or paid for by me or my party, has done us the world of good. I received a number of phone calls during the weekend, one from a total stranger, praising our stance on this issue.

Yet, I must humbly point out that Áine gave me far too much praise and credit when she described me as ``the master of spin'', that has created the overall positive disposition of locals in Clonakilty towards the asylum seekers living in our town.

If bouquets are to be thrown, then they should be aimed at the Friends' of the Asylum Seekers, a group of volunteers who offer their talents, help, advice and time to make life for other human beings living in the community better. Also, the management and staff at Clonakilty Lodge and the many other individuals who in their own quiet, unselfish and discreet way assist these strangers in a strange land.

Perhaps Áine, you might consider joining Sinn Féin as Director of Publicity? After all, if you can get on the most popular show on national television and plug us like last Friday, then your heart must surely be in the right place - somewhere!!

Arís Áine, go raibh míle maith agat. Tiocfaidh ár lá!

Is mise, le meas,

Cllr. Cionnaith Ó Súilleabháin,
Sinn Féin,
Clonakilty U.D.C.,
West Cork.


A Chairde,

I am glad to see that work has begun on the new hospital in Tullamore. The benefits to the community will be considerable in light of the fact that this is to be one of the most modern and up to date hospitals in the country.

However, isnt it sad that although 81m is to be spent on the new facilities, there is to be no money spent on providing any permanent paediatric or maternity service to the people of Offaly. That's right! No full time residential paeditrician or gynacologist will be employed in the new hospital.

The present situation in Tullamore and indeed in Offaly itself is that if a child or pregnant woman needs special treatment, then they have got to travel outside of their own county to recieve the necessary care. This is just not acceptable anymore.

According to Central Statistics Office data, on average 400 babies are born each year to parents from Offaly since closure of the maternity wing of Tullamore general hospital in the mid 80's. With the trend set to rise, the question has to be asked: why are we not getting a maternity unit back in Tullamore? Surely the regionalisation plan in the late 70's is now outdated. If such vast amounts of money are being spent on improving the services then surely the need for regionalisation of certain services to different areas should be scrapped.

The population of Offaly is constanly expanding but the number of Offaly people inhabiting the county is decreasing. Can we not have the choice to have our children born in the county of our own birth? Can we not have our children cared for in their own county?

I say to the minister, Mr. Martin; we have the right to choose where out children are born and cared for, so do the right thing and give us back the facilities your predessors took from us.

Is Mise,

Breda Buckley
Womans Affairs Spokesperson
Sinn Fein Comhairle Ceantair for Laois/Offaly

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