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Carlow Lady Joins Political Party in Bid to Campaign for Additional Neurologists for Carlow-Kilkenny Region

A Carlow lady living with Multiple Sclerosis has joined a political party for the first time in her life, saying that she is so frustrated and frightened by what she describes as “Government inertia around providing health care to the citizens of Ireland”.


Emma Byrne from Graigecullen was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2020 and describes her personal experience of dealing with the health service in the southeast region as a “roller-coaster - but not a fun one”.


The 47-year-old History graduate says, “I am lucky in that I was diagnosed quickly but this was down to the fact that we had entered ‘lockdown’ and Kilkenny Hospital was very quiet. However, it’s been very difficult since them. The individual healthcare staff are wonderful, it’s not their fault that we have a government that simply cannot do what it was elected to do; provide a decent health care service that actually functions”.


“It’s a crying shame’ that people with neurological conditions are having to wait inordinate periods of time to see Consultants in Kilkenny Hospital. There is a huge shortage of Neurologists in the Southeast region which is leading to very severe waiting lists. It really is an issue that is causing huge stress and worry to people living with neurological conditions. In my own case I was due to go up to St. Vincent’s for a check-up in May this year. I was unable to go as I had a prior long-standing arrangement and was told that the next available date is May 2024! I spoke to one of the staff members in the Neurology ward in St Vincent’s and he said they were booked up for a year! There are certain medications that have to be administered by infusion and they can only be done in Dublin! I think that is bananas. People with MS should not have to travel to get infusions, it should be done in Kilkenny. I also feel that equipment like motorised scooters and wheelchairs should be free for people living with a debilitating condition like MS”.


“When one’s mobility is affected, it causes huge difficulties, and everything can be that much harder. The Department of Health should be looking at ways it can make life easier for us instead of putting additional obstacles in our way. It’s wearing. I’m a very positive person but it is trying. I decided to join Aontú as to me it’s the only political party that actually makes any sense. I am lending my voice to the party’s calls for additional and badly needed health services. Our party leader Peadar Tóibín recently called for a restructuring of the HSE, saying more money has to be put into actually caring for sick people and less on highly paid managers, some of whom are earning up to €200,000 a year”, concluded Ms Byrne.


Notes to Editors: The Kevin Barry Cumann in Carlow Kilkenny is the 52nd Aontú Cumann in Ireland. Emma Byrne was recently elected Chair of the Kevin Barry Cumann.


By Aontú Press | 7 August, 2023

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The Irish political system is radically broken

In Ireland the vast majority of elected representatives put a finger in the air to check which way the political wind is blowing. They have one eye on their leaders – seeking brownie points – and another eye keeping their seat safe. If elected reps shut up and do as they’re told, they are promoted; if they stand up for what they believe in, they are demoted. No wonder we have the political class we have. No wonder one point one billion euro is being buried in a hole under the National Children’s Hospital and that Stormont is in stalemate.

Throughout Ireland, many people are now afraid to say what they feel, many are afraid to respectfully engage on a range of different topics. Many feel there is a new censorship and a new political correctness in Ireland, that opposition to the establishment is being deleted.

Respectful opposition is not the enemy. Respectful opposition is a critical element of a functional democracy. Aontú will have the backbone to stand up, without fear, for you.