I had occasion to visit The Coombe Maternity Hospital last Thursday.  The hospital was renamed The Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital in 2008.  According to its website, the reason for the name change is “to reflect the breadth, depth and complexity of clinical and academic activity on the hospital campus…..The Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital is one of the largest providers of women and infant’s healthcare in Europe. Last year, over 8,500 babies were born here. The hospital also provides the largest gynaecological service in the Republic of Ireland.”

I suppose it’s too much to expect that such a major and august institution would would have made arrangements for its car park and access routes to be clear of ice for its patients, staff and visitors.  In particular, most of the patients would be in various stages of pregnancy and icy conditions underfoot would be unwelcome, to put it at its mildest.  But there we were, two weeks into our big freeze, and you were taking your life into your hands to walk around the car park in the Coombe Hospital.  A sample photo illustrates this, I think.

At a time when every two-bit shopping centre makes an effort to clear ice and snow from its public areas, it’s disgraceful that our largest maternity hospital cannot organise for its car park to be similarly cleared.  Another example of public sector malaise and incompetence.

Who is the hospital chief executive?  How much does he/she earn?  Where are the maintenance staff for the past two weeks?  I do not believe that nobody had the time to organise a clear-up, so that pregnant women were not exposed to this unnecessary danger.  And I noticed that parking at the Coombe, for which visitors are normally charged, was suddenly available at no cost;  methinks there was a guilty conscience at play (or lawyers).  Instead of wasting time erecting signs about temporary free parking, or running off and consulting their lawyers, the Coombe employees and management should have got their shovels out and done the honest thing.

That’s Ireland in 2010: shoddy public sector standards, and nobody is responsible, nobody is accountable.

Lost in fog (part 73)

7 August, 2010

I note that the Irish Times obtains its weather forecasts from AccuWeather.com, whoever they are.  As I have already observed, they seem to think that we are an incredibly foggy country.  Almost every day, we are led to believe, starts with Ireland shrouded in fog.  Today is typical.


“It is not the clear-sighted who rule the world.

Great achievements are accomplished in a blessed,

warm fog.”    –  Joseph Conrad


Forty shades of fog

24 January, 2010

The Irish Times is considered by many, including itself presumably, to be the Paper of Record.  I suppose the standard of journalism in the IT is the least worst of all the Irish newspapers (although its business coverage is often not as good as that of the Irish/Sunday Independent).

But where on earth does the Irish Times get its 5-day weather forecast for Ireland?

Below is typical of what is on offer.  Almost every day, we are led to believe, starts with the country shrouded in fog. 

Now I’m prepared to admit that early morning fog can occasionally be experienced in Ireland, although I suspect that its incidence is less than a couple of days per month on average.  The Irish Times would have us believe that it happens at least 4 days out of 5.

This is so daft that I have to assume that it’s part of a cunning plan on the part of the IT to entice sentimental foreigners to visit Ireland.  After all, the sort of thing that many of them expect to come across, besides freckled red-haired children running barefoot through the countryside, are mist-shrouded castles, and the plaintive moos of cattle as they gather in foggy fields.

I wonder if the plan is working….

No pipe did hum, no battle drum
Did sound its dread tattoo
But the Angelus bell o’er the Liffey’s swell
Rang out in the foggy dew.