IrelandMorning Briefing

Your Morning Briefing: Spinal surgeon operated after issues first raised, Central Bank warns on inflationary budget

More than 300,000 expected at the National Ploughing Championships, women footballers take dim view of FAI cap presentation and weather warning in place for west and south

Morning Briefing

Temple Street consultant continued surgery for months after concerns emerged

The consultant whose work at Temple Street children’s hospital is to be externally reviewed continued to carry out operations for months after concerns about their work first emerged.

The Health Service Executive has commissioned a UK expert to review surgeries carried out by the consultant after an internal review identified “serious spinal surgical incidents” in the service, it said on Monday. One child died following multiple procedures and others suffered serious postoperative complications.

Patient safety concerns were first raised following a “particularly serious” surgical incident in July 2022, according to a report by Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) – the hospital group responsible for paediatric care nationally – with another following in September that year. From that month, staff began raising concerns about outcomes for patients who were operated on by the consultant.

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The Big Read

  • ‘The first thing I thought of was, I can’t play soccer any more ... I wanted to play for Ireland’: The moment Fiona Murray got a call from a woman introducing herself as an oncologist in CHI at Crumlin, she knew that the tumour in her nine-year-old son’s heel had been diagnosed as cancerous. The mother of two boys was working in Cork that Wednesday, April 12th in 2017, when she took the call and had to drive home to southwest Co Wexford to break the news to her youngest son. It was the hardest thing she has had to do as a parent.

The best from Opinion

  • In today’s head-to-head debate, Jen Hogan and Dr Leah O’Toole discuss whether homework has any benefits for primary schoolchildren?: Jen Hogan argues that homework instils unhealthy work and play habits. “There’s a notable change in the mood in this house since homework returned. (The kids aren’t that impressed either.) Goodbye free and easy evenings of summer; we’re back to the days of kitchen table battles, once again instilling unhealthy work, rest and play habits in our children, as the single worst thing about school takes hold.” Dr Leah O’Toole argues that if homework is to have a role, it needs to be reinvented.When it comes to research on homework, there is such a range of evidence, both positive and negative, that conceivably it would be possible to champion any opinion.”

Culture and Life & Style highlights

  • London Fashion Week in pictures: Irish designer Paul Costelloe opened London Fashion Week saying he was “bringing back a bit of romance” to the catwalks with feminine dresses and soft, fluid looks.
  • Nancy Harris: “There’s something about other people’s weddings that tell us where we’re at in our lives”: The playwright on her new play in which Cynthia, who’s a TV presenter, receives a visit from her less successful sister – and is surprised to see her step into a winning new light: Casey has brought home an impressive boyfriend who seems impossibly attentive to her every whim.

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Top Business stories

  • Savings rates are rising. Here’s how to maximise your return: Oh to live in Belgium; no, not for the chocolates, or beer, but rather for its savings rates. Yes, in the same week that the Irish State Savings scheme increased its rates – to a top annual rate of 2 per cent on the 10-year bond – the Belgian government launched its own special offer.
  • When it comes to road safety, history lessons are a waste of money: It’s not surprising that the Road Safety Authority (RSA) pushed back the launch of its new campaign by a week. Its “Mary Ward” TV ad was due to be aired on August 31st but that day saw the funeral of Nicole Murphy, one of the four young people killed in a road collision in Tipperary. Their deaths added to a tragic tally of Irish road users who lost their lives this summer; events that prompted extensive media coverage and public reaction, writes Bernice Harrison in her Media and Marketing column.

Letters to the Editor

Sir, – The most tiresome aspect of the budget cycle is surely the pattern of left-wing opposition TDs (salary €107,000) and the CEOs of State-funded social justice NGOs (average salary €120,000) uniting to tell us, with straight faces, that workers earning the average wage of €45,000 don’t need tax cuts and should instead continue to pay tax at the higher rate so that public spending can continue to rise. The latest to jump on this annual merry-go-round is Holly Cairns, leader of the Social Democrats, a party which claims to represent ordinary working people (News, September 14th).


Public spending is already completely out of control, having risen from €77 billion in 2019 to €102 billion this year, about 20 per cent more than it was at the height of the Celtic Tiger. Perhaps Ms Cairns and others on six-figure public sector salaries can clarify: exactly what level does public spending have to reach before private sector workers should expect any kind of significant tax cuts? – Yours, etc, BARRY WALSH, Clontarf, Dublin 3.

Podcast Highlights

Book Review of the Day

  • The Bible and Poetry: Translating words and contexts of the testaments: In Bible and Poetry, Michaël Edwards focuses on those books of the Old Testament with a pronounced lyrical character, such as the Song of Songs and the Psalms, and he remarks the points where the prose of Genesis or Isaiah switch to verse: “We find ourselves constantly in the presence of writings that invite us into the joy of words, into a well-shaped language, in a form that demands from us the attention that we give to poetry and awakens us to expectation.” And, “In its own way, and without being supernatural, poetry too is revelation.”

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