Friday, 24th February 2017
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Michael Garland,

bizBoost Chair,

Waterford Business Group

Imagine ALL the people!

“No need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man.”

On Saturday last, we all marched, once again, for the very basic of welfare state rights. Better cardiac care, serviced by University Hospital Waterford. I would estimate that around circa 6,000 took part in the march and I noted, perhaps for the first time on such an occasion, that there were significant numbers of “Older people” taking part. This was the silver generation getting out and voting with their feet - something that Government should be very wary of, as this generation has real teeth (well some do)!\

The social media pages have been awash with TDs’, posting pictures to let their adoring hordes know that they marched for us. With perhaps the exception of one, who has made it very clear that he will stand by his man. The youthful Minister Harris and that now infamous Herity report? A report that was given such precise “Terms of reference”, it would have been impossible to have had a different outcome.

Whilst, three quarters of the Waterford brigade were out in force, there appeared to be very little political support from our other sister counties. This is the root of our poor showing on this issue.

The national media and Government, see this as Waterford’s problem and NOT the South Easts’ problem. It suits the trolls working the corridors of power, to go out of their way to ignore so called one horse town issues. “LOOK! We are running a country.” Is that Waterford we hear moaning once again?

A Government so full of really quite clever, bright people, greedily working the system to massage their parish pump egos. We are very poor at this type of politics. It would suit our neighbours to have muted colleagues sharing a county boundary.

Unfortunately, we witnessed on Saturday little or no support from our nearest neighbours. Our fellow citizens, who are without doubt far worse off in terms of the Blues and Twos travel time, to Cork or Dublin. Swathes of Wexford are significantly over the “You’ve got 90 minutes or you might be dead”, life saving window. Yet, there seems to be absolutely little or no concern shown whatsoever?

The local newspapers across Wexford, Tipp and Kilkenny, will probably carry very very few column inches on the march. Some are just too concerned and preoccupied, with portraying Waterford Council, as acting like Adolf ‘H’ whilst attempting a 1939 style “Land grab”, than the health of a substantial proportion of their readership. They don’t see this as a regional issue. It’s as if the message is just not getting out to the people in these affected areas.

The people across the South East have for years and years, not been treated equally. There is no brotherhood of man. We pay the same taxes and yet we are constantly left short changed. Institutionalised discrimination towards Waterford appears to be a tsunami that cannot be stopped unless we have the support of those around us. Yet, getting that support will prove harder than finding a set of hen’s teeth. In fact, I fear it might be easier for us to seek out and discover, the whereabouts of the Holy Grail!

Our part-time catheterisation laboratory is of course welcome good news. Yet we have to accept the absence of no concrete plans as to when this life saving unit might arrive. Even more importantly, start operating. No one knows what those hours of operation might be? We don’t know how long it will be in situ? Will we even have sufficient extra staff to allow it to be operated efficiently? These open ended questions are just De Rigueur for Waterford. I can assure you this wouldn’t happen in Cork, Dublin or Limerick!

So, how do we move forward on this prickly issue? The campaign needs the urgent and fast mobilisation from the people across the region. For sure we all know that!

But here is the hard part. Is there truthfully the appetite for those people to get involved? Where are the voices asking, “We’ve got 90 minutes or we might be dead!!!!”

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