In the National Media every day, we hear of political manoeuvering from our two largest parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. Both parties are claiming to be putting the needs of the country first, but this simply isn’t the case. As the arm wrestle continues for power of our country’s parliament, ordinary people like you and I are suffering.
We have learned of the harrowing story of 4 year old boy, Aaron O’Hanlon. As many other children his age are looking forward to the ever closer summer holidays, Aaron and his parents are moving from cancelled surgery to cancelled surgery.
At just 4 years old, young Aaron suffers from Scoliosis, a curvature of the spine as well as being diagnosed with Autism. Originally scheduled for surgery on November 19th 2015 through the National Treatment Purchase Fund, Aaron was set to go to England for his life changing surgery. Speaking to Tipperary Times, Aaron’s father Mark O’Hanlon described the continuous setbacks they have encountered.
“Aaron was due to meet Doctors from England for the surgery on November 19th. On the 18th of November as we were preparing to travel, we got a call from Crumlin to say it was cancelled. They had informed us that Aaron would not be suitable for the stresses of travel to the UK and instead booked surgery for January 6th”
Mark went on to talk about further disappointments. “Just before New Years, we got another call from Crumlin, they said not to leave for Dublin until we received the all clear and we’d be contacted by 3:30 at the latest. It got to 3:30 and we called Crumlin regarding the letter. There was no record of Aarons surgery”
“The breakdown in communication in various levels of Crumlin has been stressful as we were preparing ourselves for surgery. The staff were understanding and apologetic and to their credit, arranged a new surgical date for April 28th. We have already received news that this has again been cancelled and provisionally set for May 12th. We fear this is becoming a never ending cycle of surgical date followed by cancellation”
Clearly distraught about the future of young Aaron, Mark went on to talk more about his young son. “We feel that we are getting pushed around. From 1-5 years old are the most critical times for Scoliosis. Fast approaching his 5th birthday, it tortures me that I don’t know if Aaron is in pain. Aaron can’t communicate very well due to his Autism. It prevents him from expressing emotions such as pain, there is no way to know”
Currently over 250 children in Ireland are awaiting this very same life changing surgery or consultation with surgical experts. Aaron has already been 18 months on this list with no clear sight of when he will get seen to. To make matters worse, Aaron also suffers from eczema so many traditional remedies can’t be used.
So how has this political ineptitude effected these young helpless children? A second surgical theater in Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin was due to be opened for Scoliosis however there are still no clear plans if this will be completed. Mark has stated that local representative Seamus Morris of Sinn Féin has been long advocating for progress for young Aaron.
When contacted by the Tipperary Times, Cllr Morris described the decision to cancel 4 year old Aaron O’Hanlon’s vital operation “as systematic of the priorities of the main parties of this country”.
Cllr Morris went on to say “While Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil prevaricate over getting into bed together, a young boy from Roscrea, and many like him across the country have to live in constant pain. With his operation on his curved spine being cancelled yet again because “someone is more in need of the operation table”. His parents were also told that the next slot may not be available either.”
Morris was particularly critical of the inability of the two major parties to reach an agreement on governance. “While Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil play out Lanigan’s Ball, the health service is in an absolute shambles caused by both these parties dedication to running down the public health service in order that the elite millionaires in this country can make even more cash from their investments into Private Hospitals the same way that the badly needed housing stock is being sold off to foreign vulture capitalists who are hounding people out of their homes”.
Morris concluded by saying “Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are two sides of the same coin when it comes to privatisation and young Aaron O Hanlon is an unfortunate victim of their agendas. Sinn Féin want to remind both parties that the days of controlling both the government and opposition is over and Sinn Féin will hold whatever government get into power accountable for their actions. The dynamics have changed, it is now up to Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to get off the fence and provide an accountable and transparent government which will reverse the privatisation agenda.”
The political merry go round is leaving people like you and I left without vital resources as our country needs direction. We can only hope that young Aaron gets the vital operation he needs sooner rather than later,