The cure for Ireland’s waiting lists? – updated.¬†


Moybolgue graveyard, Co. Meath, home of an old well reputed to cure warts.

In kitchen drawers, stuffed into biscuit tins or nestled between bills and faded hospital appointment cards across rural Ireland you’ll, in all likelihood, find a ‘list of the cures’.

The traditional is seeing a resurgence (though it never went away) due to a crumbling health service coupled with unbearable waiting times for even the simplest of treatments.

I brought my own eight year old daughter to our G.P at the start of the summer, hoping to resolve a common problem picked up after six weeks of swimming lessons, a verruca. I remember having one myself when I was her age and going to the G.P to have it treated with dry ice, no big deal.

So I was surprised when my G.P refused to treat it, due to my daughter’s age, she preferred instead to send a referral letter to the local hospital. Six weeks later we received a letter from the hospital waiting list department to say we were on the waiting list for the waiting list (it’s the Irish health service, I wish I could say I was surprised, but I wasn’t).

Speaking on the phone to a lady last week in the waiting list department, she told me, lowering her voice, Varadkar’s minions (her words) are watching everything. There was nothing she could do and was not in a position to give out any information other than suggest I go back to the G.P to secure a second letter of referral to strengthen my daughter’s case to be moved onto the actual waiting list for treatment (The actual, ‘real’ waiting list has a six month wait, so I don’t envisage medical treatment for my daughter anytime this year).

Enter the list of the cures.

Growing up in the city, I had never heard of the gift of the cure, only going for the cure on a Sunday morning after a particularly good Saturday night out.

Some years ago we were given a list of cures from a neighbouring farmhouse, specific to our townland. The handwritten pages listed every part of the body with it’s accompanying cure.

I put the list away between the pages of a book on the traditions of rural Ireland and thought nothing of it until last week.

The list makes fascinating reading; a cure may involve visiting a location, like the well at Moybolgue Cemetery pictured above (proof indeed that we did visit the well for my older daughter’s warts on her fingers), or paying a visit to a particular person who has the gift of a specific cure.

There’s a man who lives nearby in an old cottage with the cure for the kidney’s. He’s only request from his patrons for the cure is a box of twenty Major. 

The lady who visited us on Sunday with the cure for the veruca asked for nothing. We’ve to call her again in seven days. Three visits she advised, cures the verruca, but they’re usually gone before that. Needless to say I’m fascinated to see if it works.

I wish I could share the list of cures with you, but I can’t; It would, in all likelihood, be highly illegal.

But I can urge you to vote the minister and his government out in the next general election, it might not cure the waiting lists, but it’d bring some relief.


Within a week the warts and verruca turned black, over three weeks they gradually dissappeared. 

No hospital appointment required ūüôā 

Warning: This is not rocket science



Last Monday saw the release of a report entitled Suicide in Ireland 2003-2008 by the 3T’s (Turn the Tide of Suicide) based on research undertaken by Prof Kevin Malone and his team at UCD. This research involved the kind participation of 103 families from 23 counties to explore lives lived in the hope of dispelling myths with facts and answering question with honesty, devoid of political spin. In essence, the report launched this week sets the standard for further research in Ireland, so badly needed and I would encourage you to download the report ¬†here.

“This is not rocket science”

The qualities of basic humanity, empathy and compassion cannot be produced academically it seems. 66% of families interviewed for this research stated a negative or very negative experience with health services in this country before the loss of their loved one, 45% of families also rated exposure to the Justice system (Gardaí etc) negatively or very negative. There is also evidence provided in the report of incidence of bullying and intimidation in the education system before the loss of a loved one.

“Overall, over 70% of families felt “more could have been done” surrounding the suicide death of their loved one “

(Suicide in Ireland 2003-2008).


Empathy, compassion and an ability to listen is not rocket science, in fact is doesn’t require any third level degree at all.

If you do have a negative experience from professionals go to the voluntary agencies, they do what they do because they care, not because they’re paid to care.

So If you’re worried about how you are feeling or how someone you know is feeling please, please contact an organisation like¬†SOSAD¬†Ireland or call the 1 life helpline on 1800 247 100 and if you get a chance have a look at the report.¬†


Diagram used in Safetalks and Asist training to explain the importance of community involvement in suicide prevention


Cherishing the Wealthly

The 2010 study of the Irish Health Behaviour in School – Aged Children (HBSC)¬†is an interesting read, as it provides a barometer on how various government policies and initiatives are reaching and influencing the lives of the nations’ children. More importantly, it illustrates inequalities that go against the hopes and aspirations contained in the Proclamation; that is; to cherish all of the nations children equally.

A quick read through of the report stops suddenly when confronted with the statistic that 21% of children when asked the question, ‘have you ever gone to bed or school hungry?’ reported yes as their answer. That is an increase ¬†from the 2006 report of 17% (still an uncomfortable figure, possibly evidence, for those who need it, that the Celtic Tiger ‘boom’ years did not reach everyone). So when confronted with an answer like that, it begs, the question why?¬†Why has there been such an increase in the statistics over that four year period and what can be done about it.

Over the recent years, with increased financial hardship and Austerity Budgets, families have had less money to cover basic necessities, economising on food bills to cover energy costs and mortgages etc. Even allowing for the fact that a lot of parents themselves would go hungry, before allowing their children to do so, means that these statistics are just the tip of the iceberg, when we look at families as a whole. Sadly, the most vocal people, especially in the media, maintain there is no problem because they cannot see it. These figures tell different, with recent budgets favouring the¬†wealthy, and attacking struggling families. This year’s St. Vincent de Paul pre-budget submission uses the following case study as an example;

Books or food?
Derek contacted the SVP on a Friday evening when his family had ‚ā¨3 to last them until the next week. He had to¬†pay school expenses for his three children which meant the family had no money for food that week.
The SVP organised an immediate visit with food vouchers so that they could eat until their social welfare payment¬†came through.’

 An increase, can be turned into a decrease if there is the will to do so. Around the time of the last budget, this problem had been foreseen by Sinn Féin through their proposed provision of school meals in their pre-budget submission, (p26) which would at least take some pressure of parents, decreasing the risk of children either going to bed or to school hungry. That is one targeted and costed solution for struggling families. 

Nobody believed that rescuing the wealthy of this nation was going to be easy, but surely this is too high a price to pay. I say rescuing the wealthy, on purpose, because up until now that has been and will continue to be government policy unless you change it.