It really does Mater for Joe
Every Friday without fail, late in the afternoon, an email drops into our mailboxes with a headline that goes something like this.
COSTELLO TO CONTINUE MATER PROTEST TOMORROW
One of the people in the Labour Party press office told me that when they fire off that press release every Friday, they know their week’s work is finished and it’s time to go for a pint.
The Costello in question is Deputy Joe Costello, the Labour TD for Dublin Central. And the protest highlights the conditions at the A&E department at the Mater, which is of course in his constituency.
We get lots and lots of emails each day. Between 50 and 150 depending on the day that’s in it.
There are some that are destined for the trash can.
And I’m sorry to say that I can not recall even one of those Friday emails from Joe ever making print.
Nearly every Saturday of the year, without fail, Joe, his wife, Lord Mayor Emer Costello, and a few others protest for an hour outside the A&E department.
Each week, Costello discloses the stats for that week. An example from a few weeks ago:
“This week there was an average of 25 people on trolleys in the Mater. On Wednesday, that figure was as high as 33.
“This figure is a nothing short of shameful, and for this reason the Labour Party will continue to campaign for decent standards in the hospital. ”
And today we learned that tomorrow is the 7th anniversary of the protest. That the small band of people have kept at it for seven full years is an achievement.
To me, it just sounds thankless. And a saothar in aisce on an almost epic scale, if ever there was one.
Seven year of Saturdays, walking around a car park in the North Circular Road with placards, is a pretty good working example of martyr for the cause.
Hats off to him and his band for perseverence and stickability.
And I suppose, in a small way, we’re recognising him today. Here’s to the guy who persevered to the end against a sea of indifference. I’ll raise my Diet Coke to you Joe on that one!