The Elephant in The Room, No Longer that Invisible?

The issue that normally simmers away in the background of Irish politics has taken the headlines again today thanks to an interview in the Irish Times about the the death of a mans wife. The man is Praveen Halappanavar and he was talking about the death of 31 year old Savita Halappanavar, a dentist in Galway, following a miscarriage. She had attended the hospital complaining of back pain and they discovered she was miscarrying. She had then requested a Medical Termination but it was refused “because the foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told, “this is a Catholic country””.

She spent 2 and half days in agony until the foetal heartbeat stopped. She was then transferred to the High Dependency Unit and then the Intensive Care Unit before dying of septicaemia on the 28th October.

This is shocking!

This should never have happened!

I have previously called the abortion the political debate the Elephant in the Room, but following today’s news adding to the ABC v Ireland case further demonstrates the need for an Abortion Act in Ireland.

In a strange co-incidence the Minister of Health received the Report of the Expert on the ABC v Ireland yesterday evening. The Government will soon have to make a decision on this and the sooner the better.

There are many protests being planned in Cork there is one tonight (7pm outside Opera House) and on Friday (1pm on Daunt Square)

There are also protest in Dublin (tonight and Saturday), Galway (Saturday), Belfast (Thursday 15th) and London. More details being added to Una Mullally’s blog on the Irish Times.

As a Country we have had 20 years to sort this out. Government’s of all hues have failed to sort out this issue. Its time our Government legislated for this. Hopefully they will be shamed into acting after this.

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Crash at Cork Airport

Cork airport
Image via Wikipedia

A crash happened this morning before 10am at Cork Airport. Manx2 Flight NM7100 from Belfast to Cork crashed in fog on its third attempt to land.

6 people have been confirmed dead. 12 people were on board the plane.

The Airport is currently closed. All arriving  flights have been diverted to Shannon, all departing flights have been cancelled. Ryanair’s flights will be operating to and from Shannon.

All travellers are advised to check with their airline before making alternative arrangements.

All road traffic is being diverted away from the Airport causing significant delays on the South Link and other roads.

Air Traffic investigators are on their way to Cork Airport.

*UPDATE 12:30*

The emergency plan has been stood down and bodies are being currently removed from the scene.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

*Update 13:25*

6 survivors of the crash have been taken to Cork University Hospital. 4 are described as being in a serious condition, while 2 others are described as comfortable.

Simon Coveney has confirmed that Fine Gael has cancelled all campaigns today in Cork as a mark of respect. I assume other parties will also suspend campaigns.

*Update 14:20*

Manx2 have issued a statement on their blog.

The aircraft was carrying ten passengers and two crew members – a captain and a co-pilot.  The aircraft involved was a Metro Liner leased from Flightline BCN in Spain.

The aircraft left Belfast City Airport at 07:50am this morning and was due to land in Cork at 09:00am.

Due to weather conditions at Cork Airport the aircraft tried to land twice, and the incident took place on its third approach.

We are working with all relevant authorities to establish what happened.

We would like to express our sincere sympathies to the families of those who lost their lives in this tragic accident.

The air investigation will be across three jurisdictions involving teams from Ireland, the UK and Spain. The Spanish authorities have been informed as the plane was registered in Spain.

Manx2’s website is currently down. Manx2’s helpline 0044 289 042 7004

A number for Airport information has also been set up 021 4428820

More information as this develops.

*Update 16:10*

The Taoiseach will this afternoon travel to Cork Airport and Cork University Hospital to meet with those involved in the response to this morning’s air tragedy. He will be briefed by the relevant authorities at Cork Airport and Cork University Hospital and will be available to brief the media between 4.30pm and 5.00pm at Cork Airport.



Cork Airport


Statement from Bishop Paul Colton, Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross

IDAHO 2010


Changing Attitudes Ireland is again organising events for International Day Against Homophobia in Belfast, Cork and Dublin. While IDAHO is on the 17th May, the events will take place on the preceding Sunday 16th of May. The theme this year is “Open Doors”, which I think is very fitting for a church dealing with this issue.

In Belfast the service will take place at St. George’s Church, High Street at 15.00hrs. Following the service between 16.15-16.45hrs. in St. George’s Hall, there will be the launch of a Resource Booklet “Share your Story” – Gay and Lesbian Experiences of Church at which the Speaker will be Revd. David Cooper (Methodist).

In Dublin the service will take place at Christ Church Cathedral at 15.30hrs. In Cork the service will take place at St. Finn Barre’s Cathedral Cork at 19.00hrs.

Having attended last years service on the theme Don’t Throw Stones, I am looking forward to this years service.

Do go along if you get a chance, I know this event helped me a lot last year.

There is more information, including the order of Service(PDF) on the Changing Attitudes Ireland website

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IDAHO – International Day Against Homophobia

Image by flem007_uk via Flickr

Tomorrow is IDAHO and there will be an event in Cork to commemorate it. It is being organised by Changing Attitudes Ireland. A Choral Evensong will take place tomorrow evening (May 17th) at 7:00pm in St. Fin Barres Cathedral in Cork. The speaker will be Ms. Doleres Mannion. Other events will take place in Dublin and Belfast.

In Dublin there will be a service in Chirst Church Cathedral at 3.30pm with Sen. David Norris being the speaker. In Belfast a service will take place in St. Georges Church on High Street at 3:00pm. The speaker there is Colm McCormick

I am looking forward to this and it is nice to see a religous group organising it. The theme of the Services will be “Dont throw stones”.

Changing Attitude Ireland is a network of people, gay and straight, working for the full affirmation of Lesbian and Gay persons within Churches. All are welcome to these services, those of all religions and none and those of all sexual orientations.

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Teens in bid to reduce number of Belfast suicides

Two Belfast teenagers are at the centre of a new bid to cut the city’s suicide rates from 150 a year, it emerged today.

Caitlín Ní Cathail and Paul McCann have become the youngest team ever to be trained in internationally renowned techniques to recognise the symptoms before it’s too late.

The pair attended a conference in Newfoundland, Canada, to partake in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST).

The initiative, developed over 23 years, involves a first-aid process to detect any warning signs and intervene.

Mr McCann, 19, a student from west Belfast’s Lower Falls, said: “It’s to help recognise the basic concept of suicide and symptoms such as stress and giving away possessions and act on them.

“We see ourselves as care workers trying to pull people out of the river of suicide.”

Mr McCann and Ms Ní Cathail, both 18, from Ballymurphy, west Belfast, work with Belfast City Council’s Youth Forum, where they are teaching colleagues about what can be done to protect those at risk.

They are also planning to run a course for staff working in the community and team up with the Samaritans to put on a play at City Hall in December to raise awareness of the difficulties facing some of the most vulnerable at Christmas.

“We would like as many people as possible to come along,” said Mr McCann.

“Suicide is something people find hard to talk about, but we need to start looking closely at what we can do to intervene before it happens.”

He added: “The Youth Forum has identified suicide as a major area of concern and has drawn up a strategy to help tackle it.

“We aim to raise awareness among as many people as possible, highlighting the effects suicide has on our community.

“There is often a great stigma or taboo around suicide which may prevent people reaching out for help.

“However, they often give involuntary signals that they are thinking about it and if we can pick these up we can apply first aid until the necessary help is forthcoming. In this way ASIST is proven to work and it helps save lives.”