Is blatant non-compliance causing Covid to spread?

By now, I’m sure readers are aware of the Return to Work Safety Protocol document detailing an array of ‘essential measures’ for businesses launched last week by Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys.

While these new initiatives will no doubt change our workplace environments beyond recognition, (and, let’s face it, it’s highly likely we’ll never get back to what was our previous levels of normal), the thing is, they are absolutely necessary.

To be honest folks, a report by this very newspaper detailing statistics regarding a ‘sharp rise in Covid cases in Roscommon’ didn’t surprise me in the least. On several occasions since lockdown commenced, while making an essential visit to town to do the weekly food shop, I took the decision to turn around and drive home. Despite urgent warnings from the HSE and the Gardaí against large gatherings, I personally witnessed many people openly breaking the social distancing rules.

Indeed, such was the Christmas Eve-like party atmosphere in Roscommon town on two Fridays in a row, I couldn’t even find a parking spot! Now, whether these idiots gathering in large groups are so arrogant they’re disregarding health warnings, believing the rules don’t apply to them, or they’re suffering from a delusional condition I call ‘denial’, the thing is, the spread of Covid across this county was possibly caused as a direct result of their blatant non-compliance!

Look folks, I sympathise with employers, and I imagine these new back-to-work guidelines will prove to be a difficult task, especially for local SMEs who may not find such measures to be sustainable – and that’s terribly sad. However, I do believe it’s going to be up to all business owners to meticulously manage the risk to both their staff and their customers/clients.

With that in mind, I’d urge all employers to put  preparations in place this week and ensure, (as far as is practicable), that every single worker/customer is fully informed regarding the now essential preventative measures being implemented on their premises. Remember readers, it’s up to every one of us – not just a few – to try and obstruct the spread of this pervasive virus.


Wishing all Leaving Cert students and their teachers the very best!

This year’s Leaving Cert has been cancelled and…long story short, students will now be offered the option of accepting grades calculated by their teachers. Alternatively, they can choose to sit their exams at a later date…post-pandemic.

To be honest, this whole process, necessary though it is, raises many questions for me. Firstly, how fair is this on students who may be, let’s say troublesome, or, we’ll call a spade a spade, not exactly the teacher’s pet? Could they be penalised for being, ahem, brats? Can we expect every poor tormented teacher to remain objective when grading such a student’s papers?

In addition, is this new system fair on teachers themselves? Essentially those having to deal with pushy parents who’ll probably (not saying they will) be tempted to canvass them in the hope they’ll give their precious offspring, dare I suggest, undeserved elevated grades?

Furthermore, will this new process spur a wave of possible legal proceedings from students and parents against teachers if their grades result in a loss of their ‘dream’ courses? Sure what parent alive doesn’t want the absolute best for their child?

While I’m not a fan, I would however echo FF Deputy Thomas Byrne’s call for legislation to be put in place to protect teachers who may be feeling ‘obligated’ to engage with canvassing parents…should this scenario arise. In addition, I would hope and expect that all students, whatever their circumstances, are afforded a fair and equitable path toward the next stage of their lives. Whatever the outcome, may I wish every single one of you, teachers, students and parents, the absolute very best. We’re all thinking of you here at the Roscommon People.


Will hospital handover end religious interference in women’s health?

Well colour me cynical! Last week, the Sisters of Charity confirmed they’d received ‘Vatican approval’ for the transfer of ownership of the St. Vincent’s Healthcare group to a ‘new independent charitable body’, which will apparently be called St. Vincent’s Holdings CLG.

While this announcement should hopefully remove concerns regarding a religious influence being brought to bear on the governance of the new National Maternity Hospital at Elm Park in Dublin, I have to say I’ll find this difficult to believe. It’s well known that the Holy See and the Catholic Church’s rituals and vocabulary have always exalted men over women, so how can we trust them to keep their noses out of our healthcare? I mean sexism is kind of embedded into the structure…isn’t it?

Okay, for the sake of objectivity and fairness, I admit the Catholic Church does perform and provide a wonderful service for devotees; and this must be recognised. However, as a believer, (albeit one who has long since drifted away from active service), it’s my fear that the tenets of what is possibly one of the world’s most dominant patriarchies will never allow women to have full control over our own reproductive rights! But that’s just my opinion – and I do sincerely hope I’m wrong!

The risks of reading…

I read a very disturbing study last week regarding the damages caused by consuming too much alcohol during lockdown. I don’t mind telling you readers, the contents of that article disturbed me on such a level that right there and then, without any further thought into the matter, I turned to hubby and immediately announced, “that’s it darling…there’ll be no more reading for me!”