herald

Wednesday 17 January 2018

How did patient files end up in a midlands bog?

THE HSE is now investigating another instance of hospital patient records turning up in the wrong place. The first time this happened, private patient details were found in a bin outside Roscommon Hospital, which is bad, but at least seemed logical. It seemed logical until we were told the records in question didn't belong to patients in that hospital. In fact, they belonged to patients from a hospital in Mullingar.

This was odd, but we all told ourselves there had to be some connection between the two hospitals which caused the records to end up in Roscommon's bin.

What was harder to explain was the second incident of poorly binned records in which patient records showed up in a bin in a housing estate in Ballina. However, we convinced ourselves that some medical practitioner must have disposed of records in their bin at home and they were subsequently found in their wheelie-bin. Logical enough.

The latest incident is trickier to justify. It looks like patient records may have been found in a bog in Abbeyknockmoy outside Tuam. Unless they're from an Iron Age hospital and have been preserved in the bog for millennia (which is unlikely), this could be very tricky for the HSE to explain.



Tralee Roses deserve more

THE Rose of Tralee happened this week and the entire nation fell over itself in the race to shout "they all have lovely bottoms" at the TV.

Having sat through it myself, it's clear the organisers need to change some things for next year.

First, no more banners in the audience. It ain't Winning Streak and there's no point of putting on Black Tie if you're going to spoil it by holding up something that would lower the tone of a Vauxhall Conference match.

Second, the women must be expected to be interesting; in other words, have something to say that isn't a pre-prepped 'funny' non-sequitur like "Yes, Daithi, I did put my hamster in the microwave, let me tell you how it happened,"; "Yes Daithi, that's right, my dad has a tattoo that says 'I love Steve', let me tell you why...'

Third, no more horrendous party pieces; if you can't sing, don't try. And last, make it about the women, not the spectacle; we don't care that it's 'in the Dome'. We couldn't give a fiddler's curse that there's a week-long festival. We don't need proof that young men can be relied upon to act like muppets if given the title 'escort' and broadcast on national TV. The whole point is to show an Irish female diaspora that is interesting, educated, thoughtful, talented and insightful, so how about treating them as such and making the show about them?



Sinead's toad



is playing up

THE Gobi toad is remarkable. It hibernates for nearly a decade before the rains cause it to burst briefly into florid activity, after which it returns once more to hibernation.

I bring this up because I'm convinced that if you open the top of Sinead O'Connor's head (right) you'll find one of these little fellas pulling the levers and flipping the switches. It's the only possible explanation for her behaviour; she's calm for about seven years, then the toad wakes up and hits the button labelled 'do something bananas' and Sinead tears up a picture of the pope on TV, or becomes a bishop, or -- in her most recent display -- uses her website to ask complete strangers to do things to her that are still illegal in several US states.

Luckily the Gobi toad tires quickly, so by next week he'll have fallen asleep, she'll have quietened down, and we'll have some peace until 2018.

KTHE Vintners' Federation has said setting a minimum price for alcohol would be a good way to curb alcohol abuse.

The thing is, maybe they're right. All the studies show the cheaper booze is, and the easier it is to get, the more likely you are to have national problems with drink.

So in this instance, for once, weirdly, it just might be that what's good for the publican is also good for country.

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