12th July, 2001


At 11 months old our first child was diagnosed with cerebral palsy a very severe degree. The paediatrician explained that the condition was irreversible brain damage necessitating the use of a wheelchair, and in all probability she would require total care for life.
Our daughter at 38 years old lives at home, attends an adult centre for four and half days weekly - when she is well enough to do so - is physically unable to do anything for herself even the simplest task, and is totally incontinent. Though assessed as having a moderate learning disability, she is exceptionally sharp mentally, and can articulate her needs very well. This facility is perceived by others to be a great asset and blessing for her, with us her parents, but it has in fact proved to be the reverse. Having both Father & Mother in their sixties is a source of ongoing worry & anxiety to her, in the event of "anything happening to us".
Down through the years successive governments have almost ignored the plight of the handicapped - under funding services and the charities and organisation who provide the very necessary clinics, schools, adult centres and long-term residential units. And, there are too few respite places for the numbers seeking them. Community based services are inadequate, and understaffed. Certainly, there have been improvements in the past thirty years, but, very much more needs to be done. The lack of responsibility of the State and local health bodies to the handicapped is very frustrating to carers. These bodies are responsible for the care of the underprivileged & handicapped, and carers should be only an arm Of the State.
Caring in the home has proved to be a huge commitment - a mammoth task, due to the complex nature of our daughter's disability, care needs are spread throughout the 24 hours.
The financial help we receive is appreciated, but is totally inadequate considering her total incapacitation and dependence. We note with apprehension the big increase in the numbers of handicapped persons over the years, and what appears to be meagre efforts by successive Governments to meet the needs of our less well off. Voluntary groups are doing their utmost, but a far more drastic effort by government is called for. If a society is judged by it's care of the aged and infirm we as a nation are sadly lacking. As a body the handicapped has no clout, but, maybe, somewhere - someone - will have the egalitarian interest and will to further their cause.
Mr Michael Martin, Minister for Health & Children, who as an excellent Minister for Education was lauded for providing school for the handicapped with very many extra teachers & services, will again, I hope in the next budget show the same generosity of spirit, in funding services etc., for the benefit of the handicapped, elderly, infirm and their carers.
And in particular, I would ask the Minister to remove the means test for the Carer's Allowance. Only 5,000 Carer's out of a total 0f approximately 120,000 Carer's receive a Carer's Allowance of some sort.
The Carers Association in Cork, is situated at Penrose Wharf, Manager, Peter Cox, tel. 021 4503581. The Centre provides a range of services and support to family Carers and people working with Carers in Cork and County. The Care in the Home training course is certified by VEC, and is very popular and well attended. There are also coffee mornings and pamper days. The Associations immense benefit and support to Carers cannot be measured or quantified.
(Name & Address with Editor)


Fáilte, I am from up near Cathedral Road....would love the gossip from home.... I was home for Xmas and have lost touch with all my old friends...seems like its a very young city now...as for me my maiden name was Lysa Cunningham from St. Ritas Ave and I went to Farranree ...I left for London at 17 and spent almost twelve years there before marrying my US husband...He was a blind date that I flew out to meet here in NC and we got married in four days...that was almost seven years ago and even thought US life is cool and the weather is hot..(today we sat at the beach with a very
hot (90 degrees) ...I got toasted...sometimes I think my heart still belongs in London . I work for an airline...Midway Airlines...I actually spent two and a half years with American Airlines and left because head office is in Texas and to get I would have to move...my husband is a good old southern boy and didn't want to move...Midway is located here in Raleigh ( I live right in the middle of hurricane land...Raleigh/Durham...)...anyway..I would like to keep in touch. I took my husband home three times and it rained down each time ..he wants to go to Ireland when the sun is shining....write soon with all the gossip.
Elizabeth Hopkins


Dear Michael,
I refer to your comments regarding the "worst excuse for a footpath in Douglas' in your article Seen, Read and Heard in the current issue of Douglas Weekly.
l agree with your comment and have taken up the matter up with the Engineers Department at Area ' and Divisional level who have assured me that the matter is receiving their top priority. There have been discussions regarding upgrading and narrowing this section of footpath and creating extra parking bays (also mooted in the Brady Martin Shipman Report) and the Engineer is to report back to me towards the end of the week on the matter I wiIl keep your readers informed.
I would also like to be associated with your kind comments regarding the success of the Murphy Irish Open last week-end and to congratulate all the members from our local Golf Clubs who gave of their free time to act as stewards voluntarily during the tournament.
Yours sincerely,
Deirdre Forde Cllr.


We would appreciate if could highlight our complete frustration with the manner in which the residents of the above estate are being treated by the planning officials of Cork County Council.
We the residents have objected profusely from day one in regards to the proposed vehicle access through "Our Park". However we are quite willing to accept emergency access. Shamrock Lawn is a prime example of our concerns, other concerns are:
(1) The huge volume of traffic passing through our estate.
(2) Safety and wellbeing of our children.
(3) The difficulty of access of the emergency services for our residents. In conclusion we would very much appreciate if you would highlight this urgent matter for us. OUR CHILDRENS LIVES ARE AT STAKE HERE!


Hi Michael,
Recently I was looking through the pages of the Douglas Weekly on the internet and was surprised that you to got a call from the College of Surgeons. One night a few weeks ago I was just in the door from work when the phone rang. A lady with a nice telephone manner asked to speak to the man of the house. I told her he was at work and would not be home for a while, I did not tell her he worked shift work. She then told me who she worked with and that she was looking for males for her research, would my husband be in the following night and if not when would he be in. My reply to her was that he would not be interested in doing her research and then she hung up, her telephone manner had also changed.
B. Murphy,
Douglas Weekly Reader.


Dear Michael
Just a note to say thanks to the Bohemian Restaurant for a really lovely meal on Friday night. My daughter and I had a wonderful time and we were looked after very well. We look forward to going back. Once again a 'BIG Thank You' to the Bohemian and also to the Douglas Weekly for highlighting the problem.
Yours Sincerely
(Name & Address with editor)


Dear Michael,

I would like to acknowledge the excellent work on the ‘Cottage Garden’ at the entrance to Douglas East by Cork County Council and especially to Jack Casey and George Delea and his team. The Douglas Tidy Towns Committee appreciates the end result, which greatly enhances the Village and wishes to join in the many comments expressed by people living and working in Douglas.
I would like to remind your readers that the July inspection is due shortly and for this reason more people are needed on Wednesday (7.00pm to 9.00pm) and Saturday (10.30am to 1.00pm) meeting at the Community Centre, Church Road.
I would like to thank those who worked very hard on Saturday last on the South Douglas Road. Also a special thanks to the O'Connor family who provided equipment when asked.
I would welcome any comment from your readers on how Douglas village is looking for this competition.
Hope to see new members for probably the most important weeks, which will judge Douglas on a national scale for the first time.
Is mise le meas
Sean O’Riordan
Douglas Tidy Towns Committee


Dear Michael
Thank you for my regular read in the Douglas Weekly. I know you put a lot of work into it. Fair play to you!
I am writing about one of the things that get under my skin, that's the 'Yellow Vested Brigade' who go out every weekend and clean up the streets in Douglas.
I wonder have they ever thought they were doing someone out of a job. I'm sure the Corporation and the County Council are laughing at them, or maybe they just want to be seen by the general public as do-gooders.
I could suggest many other jobs like going into Old Folks homes and cutting grass and hedges or maybe cleaning a window or changing a curtain. I'm sure some old folks would love a visit. But then the general public wouldn't see them.
Have a nice holiday Michael, you deserve it.
Thanking you sincerely
Blackrock Reader.