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Dreamtime in Dromineer

Life during lockdown was strange and difficult, but there were good times too Did it really happen? Yes, there really was a padlock on the Dromineer playground. And yes, the gardaí were at the crossroads, stopping cars and sending people home. The ‘local police’ were out too, telling visitors they weren’t welcome. It was a…

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Lessons from a full house

Here are 24 things I learned from my adult children during the lockdown On Friday, 27 March, the day that the then Taoiseach Leo Varadkar placed the country under lockdown, our previously empty nest became a hive of activity. The prohibition on non-essential travel, the closure of pubs, clubs, gyms, cinemas and restaurants, and the…

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Time to value our healthcare workers

It is four months since the then Taoiseach Leo Varadkar stood outside Blair House, Washington DC, and told the nation he needed to speak to us about the coronavirus and Covid-19. That speech and the one to follow five days later, on St Patrick’s Day, marked a fork in the road of most people’s lives…

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Inside the ED: Caught in the middle and blamed for it all

What modern emergency medicine can deliver is truly amazing, but the system is hamstrung by capacity and manpower shortfalls and now faces unprecedented demands amid Covid-19, writes emergency medicine consultant and former IMO President Dr Peadar Gilligan The hospital in which I work recently appeared in the press because there were significant numbers of people…

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The Covid-19 language explosion

From ‘covidiot’ to ‘coronacoaster’, the pandemic has thrown up almost a dictionary’s worth of new words As readers are aware, one of my nerdy interests is in language and especially quirks of language. Show me a neologism and I’m away! Covid-19 has led to an explosion of new words and phrases, both in English and…

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A better quality of fear

The pandemic has given me a new perspective on empathy Doctors often grapple best with danger that is clear and present. Broken hips, lung cancers and clogged coronaries are all worthy adversaries. For many of us though, lower-back pain, depression and conversion disorders are not. We tend to be least comfortable with threats whose physical…

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Lifting the mask on the official guidance on face coverings

Over three months since the lockdown, the desire for things to go back to normal is more than understandable. The plans to reopen society promise a relief from the enforced claustrophobia we have all endured since March. This desire for normality, or as close to normality as we can get, should not bring with it…

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A good Neighbour in hard times

Consultations can still be ‘small miracles’, even with video technology “If one wishes to be master of an art, technical knowledge is not enough. One has to transcend technique so that the art becomes an ‘artless art,’ growing out of the unconscious.” — DT Suzuki (1870-1966), Zen Master. Dr Roger Neighbour, OBE, GP, practising Buddhist…

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When everybody is an expert…

‘Science’ does not refer to one thing, and neither does ‘the public’ In a piece for The Critic (28 May 2020,  https://thecritic.co.uk/the-ecstasy-of-sanctimony/), a writer called Seymour Silk defends his neighbour Dominic Cummings (top tip: select ‘safe search’ before Googling those names together) and the excursion the latter undertook with his family from London to Durham.…

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Should Ireland follow New Zealand’s path of elimination?

Even with his talent for charting the Zeitgeist, Irish writer Mark O’Connell could not have foreseen that his new book on apocalyptic thinking would be published at the beginning of a global pandemic. Reading Notes from an Apocalypse during the at-times-end-of-the-world feel of the Covid-19 crisis makes for an eerie experience. The book even has…

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