Over 300 cases recorded of ambulances arriving at life-threatening events at least sixty minutes after being called

An ambulance turned up to a life-threatening event more than an hour after being called on more than 300 occasions over the first six months of the year.

In two cases – both in the west of Ireland – there was a more than two-hour delay in paramedics arriving, according to records released by the National Ambulance Service.

Delays were most pronounced in Wexford, Cork, and Kerry, with well over a third of all the sixty-minute plus response times recorded in just those three counties.

A breakdown of the reasons given for excessive delays in ambulance response time reveals that in 249 cases, the very long distance involved was to blame.

There were also 34 cases where the ambulance got stood down because an even more pressing emergency had occurred.

Two cases of ambulances breaking down en route were reported while in another incident there was a “potential violent scene,” and the paramedics were waiting for garda support.

Other reasons given for lengthy delays in reaching patients included bad weather conditions, decontaminating an ambulance, and problems with accurate directions.

A cleaned (by us) version of the data available below, and the original release letter below that.

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Blood-stained bed clothes, syringes lying around, bullying and assault allegations among complaints made by residents of homeless accommodation

Bed clothes stained with blood, syringes and drug paraphernalia scattered everywhere, and claims of bullying and assault were among the formal complaints lodged by residents of homeless accommodation.

A total of 68 formal complaints have been logged this year in the Dublin region including problems with a lack of social distancing, residents being locked out of their own rooms, and one person who claimed they were not let leave their centre to attend a work appointment.

There was an average of around six complaints flagged each month, according to records that were released by the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive.

In one case in in May, a resident at one homeless provider said they could no longer stay there with bed linen “covered in blood” and a dirty wash area.

The following month, another homeless person said her mattress was stained and that she was being bullied by other residents.

An Excel sheet of the log available here and a PDF below.

Nama board said it was “disappointing” they could not pay staff bonuses after intervention by Minister for Finance

The board of Nama said it was “disappointing” they wouldn’t be allowed to pay staff bonuses after the Minister for Finance warned against it.

The agency halted performance-related pay for last year after being told by Paschal Donohoe that running a compulsory redundancy programme at the same time as paying bonuses would not be a “good mix”.

Internal records detail how the board believed this was “disappointing particularly” at a time when they were struggling to keep key staff.

They believed the suspension of payments was a “major risk” to the organisation but that they could not afford to lose the support of the finance minister, according to private session board minutes that were released under FOI.

Significant reservations over plans to exclude farmland from government’s planned zoned land tax

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe was warned that any plan to tax farmland which was zoned for housing development was likely to be “politically sensitive”.

Internal Department of Finance records describe how the Department of Housing wanted to exclude agricultural land – when it had been later rezoned for redevelopment or regeneration – from the government’s plan for a zoned land tax.

However, both the Revenue and Department of Finance had “significant reservations” about this and how it might exclude badly needed development land.

They said any attempt to exclude certain agricultural land from the plan could “undermine the whole proposal” in a submission prepared for Minister Paschal Donohoe.

National Museum plans for a review of the provenance of its collection including items with a “violent colonial context”

The National Museum wants to carry out an examination of its collections to flag items that have a “violent colonial context” or are “especially culturally sensitive”.

The museum said significant elements of its vast collection would never be collected today and that major work needed to be done to determine the history and provenance of items.

However, their efforts have been slowed by a lack of qualified staff and difficulties in actually accessing parts of their enormous collections, according to internal records.

The National Museum said they now planned to hire a curator early next year to begin the process of finding out the details of how items were first acquired.

However, internal records said this was likely to be a “long and complex task”.

Department of Finance chooses cheapest of three measures to help remote workers offset costs of working from home

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe chose the cheapest and most onerous of three options for how taxpayers would be allowed to claim tax relief for working from home in this year’s budget.

A department submission reveals how two more generous and much simpler options to reward home-workers were ruled out in pre-budget discussions.

Instead, Minister Donohoe opted for the least expensive option of the three and one that involved “most effort” for workers who were planning to make a claim.

Officials had also put forward the possibility of a €1.50 per day deduction that could be claimed by employees with a cap of two days a week – worth the equivalent of up to €150 each year.

The estimated overall cost of this was put at around €20 million and it had the added bonus of reducing the “administrative burden” in making a claim.

Another option to provide a simple tax credit that could easily be claimed by workers was also floated, which had an estimated cost of €25 million.

The records also include a submission on the VAT compensation scheme for charities.

Hazardous chemicals, burning cars, and vehicles driving the wrong way among more than 4,100 accidents and incidents logged on M50

More than 4,100 accidents and incidents have been logged on the country’s busiest motorway since the beginning of last year.

Animals on the road, hazardous chemicals, cars running out of fuel or going on fire were all among a total of 4,159 incidents recorded by Transport Infrastructure Ireland on Dublin’s ring road, the M50.

The figures show a remarkable decline in the number of incidents during the deepest lockdowns of the pandemic when significant volumes of cars were off the road.

In April 2020 during the very first lockdown, there were just 61 incidents logged compared to the average of 222 there has been in each month of this year so far.

The data shows an average of just over six incidents on the road every single day, ranging from minor crashes to serious multi-car collisions.

A series of investigation reports from accidents and incidents involving Air Corps aircraft

An Air Corps helicopter took off with one of its doors unlocked after members of the public began to take photos as a critically ill patient was being rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

The crew had to ask onlookers to stop taking photographs with an advanced paramedic trying to position himself so that the patient’s head would not be visible.

As the helicopter took off again from the Phoenix Park in Dublin and while flying back to base at Baldonnel, the unlocked door fell off mid-air – luckily only hitting the roof of an unoccupied building.

Other investigation reports detail:

  • an aircraft that blew out a tyre on landing at Knock Airport.
  • an incident where a crew member reported hypoxia with his fingernails turning blue and difficulty breathing.
  • a plane that lined up to land on the wrong runway.
  • and a “conflict” between a garda helicopter and an aircraft coming in to land at Baldonnel.

Solicitors flag lack of privacy and difficulties getting to speak with their clients in prison because of Covid-19 restrictions

Solicitors complained about a lack of privacy when speaking with clients in jail and that they could overhear conversations between other lawyers and their clients.

In discussions with the Irish Prison Service, lawyers also said they frequently made themselves available for video links only to be told their client was not available for a scheduled appointment with no explanation.

Internal records also detail how the prison service wrote to legal advisers asking if solicitors would trim their beards or facial hair before visiting as best practice for the wearing of protective masks.

Apologies in advance for the poor quality of the records … this is the way they were sent to us!

A catalogue of breaches of public health guidelines by TDs, Senators, political staff, and others in the Oireachtas

A TD told a member of the Oireachtas Covid-19 compliance team that he would “sooner go to jail” than wear a mask in Leinster House.

Concerns were also raised about a lack of social distancing among ministerial drivers, who would then drive cars on lengthy journeys with Cabinet members.

The details are contained in a new tranche of documents released by the Oireachtas detailing reported breaches of public health guidelines as well as aggression and bullying towards compliance staff in Leinster House and the Convention Centre.

Other concerns flagged include:

  • a TD who claimed to have secretly photographed members of staff to gather “evidence” they were not wearing masks.
  • another TD who was aggressive and told a compliance team member to leave a party room.
  • a member of political staff who “laughed” when asked to wear a mask.
  • difficulties with gardaí on duty at Leinster House and the Convention Centre.
  • how a member of the compliance team felt they had to “psych” themselves up to face each working day.

These records – and a previous set relating to similar breaches – are under appeal where we are seeking identification of the politicians involved.

We will keep you posted on those cases.