It’s Belfast or go blind according to West Cork TD

Michael Collins

INDEPENDENT Deputy Michael Collins, speaking in the Dáil this week called on the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to explain to the elderly people of rural Ireland why the only choice they have is to wait years for a simple 20 minute procedure to prevent blindness or face a long journey to another jurisdiction to have the operation carried out within three weeks.

‘On Saturday morning next Taoiseach a bus will leave Bantry taking 13 elderly people who are aged between 65 and 90 years of age on the long journey to Belfast so that they will not go blind,’ Deputy Collins said. These are people who have worked all their lives, they got up early in the morning Taoiseach, they paid their PRSI and they contributed to their communities. Is this the right way to treat some of the most vulnerable people in our society?’

Deputy Collins also pointed out to the Taoiseach the possibility of utilising the recently upgraded theatre facilities at Bantry General Hospital for cataract cases in West Cork and south Kerry.

‘There are 8000 people on the waiting list for cataract operations across the country right now Taoiseach,’ Deputy Collins continued. What are you doing to help these people who are facing a future of blindness.’

‘Bantry General Hospital has recently undergone a major upgrade to its facilities and would it not be more humane to at least reduce the number of buses being organised to take people up to Belfast for this 20 minute day procedure?’

While welcoming the Taoiseach’s response admitting that is no way to treat our vulnerable senior citizens Deputy Collins called for immediate action to reduce the waiting lists and to give people, especially living alone in rural Ireland, the facilities that will ensure that they will not lose their sight because of long waiting lists.