Michæl McFarland Campbell

Always telling the story

Archive for the ‘Ireland’ Category

Update on Accessibility issues at Iarnród Éireann lifts

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In June 2022, I highlighted some accessibility issues at Iarnród Éireann lifts, particularly on the Port Laoise line from Dublin Heuston. I am very pleased to confirm that these difficulties have been resolved. It seems that Iarnród Éireann has used the same style of instructions as found at DART stations on this line, too.

Well done to them for doing so, it is just a pity it took as long as it did to be resolved.

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

September 21st, 2023 at 4:16 pm

54% of people living with HIV avoid healthcare due to stigma: launch of HIV-related Stigma in Healthcare Settings report

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The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission‘s offices wer the venue for the launch of HIV Ireland‘s latest report: HIV-related Stigma in Healthcare Settings in Ireland: Findings from a Collaborative Joint Stakeholder Study by Dr Elena Vaughan of the University of Galway’s Health Promotion Research Centre.

There were two sets of surveys: one for healthcare workers; the other for people living with HIV (PLHIV). There were logistical difficulties in getting the surveys out to the relevant audiences to be completed. However, Elena did manage to have participation from 298 healthcare workers and 89 PLHIV.

Key findings

Some of the key findings were quite shocking:

People living with HIV

44% of people living with HIV report being asked how they got HIV by a healthcare worker.

54% of people living with HIV report having avoided healthcare for worry about how they will be treated by healthcare workers.

24% of people living with HIV report having been told to come back later, made to wait or put last in a queue.

20% of people living with HIV report having been denied service in the past 12 months.

Vaughan, E. (2023). HIV-related stigma in healthcare settings in Ireland: findings from a collaborative joint stakeholder study. Galway: Health Promotion Research Centre, University of Galway and HIV Ireland. https://doi.org/10.13025/ccsj-8336, p. 7.

Healthcare workers

21% of healthcare workers report using special measures that they would not use with other patients.

80% of healthcare workers have not received training in stigma and discrimination.

40% of healthcare workers say they would worry at least a little about drawing blood from a person with HIV.

25% of healthcare workers say they have observed a colleague talking badly about a person living with HIV at least once in the last 12 months.

loc. cit.

Experiences of stigma in healthcare settings

The report details some experiences of stigma in healthcare settings that were experienced by those interviewed by the research team. I know that I recognised two situations that had happened to me.

The physiotherapist said, `I can’t have you in the gym in the hospital because then it will have to be cleaned… so it would be a whole afternoon of no one else being able to use it because you’ve been in.’

Ibid., p.31


speaking of nurses using excessive or unnecessary infection control measures…

They came in in what I keep referring to as full body armour – they were in full gowns and masks and hair-nets and everything. And I said, Why are you dressed like that? `Well, because you know your condition.’ … Oh so because I’m HIV positive, you thinkg you need to be in all of this? `Yes.’

Ibid., p. 32

Both of those situations happened in a hospital in the midlands of Ireland. I have complained about them in the past. As the report says, I was able to self-advocate. Yet, the second situation happened even in the last few weeks when I was again there for treatment.


The report makes several recommendations for the future. They are laid out in four different domains: training and education; policy/practice guideline development; and research. I recommend you read the report online and read the recommendations there.


HIV Ireland

HIV-related Stigma in Healthcare Settings in Ireland: Findings from a Collaborative Joint Stakeholder Study

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

September 21st, 2023 at 4:03 am

Minister for Defence confirms that Irish Defence Forces no longer have “gun salute to the Most Blessed Sacrament”

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As the United Kingdom was mourning the passing of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and many gun salutes were being fired to mark this occasion, I wondered what the Irish Defence Forces did regarding gun salutes. I looked online and found that in addition to the normal gun salutes of 21 rounds for visiting Heads of State, military funerals and the like, the Defence Forces would render a gun salute of 50 rounds for the Most Blessed Sacrament. (https://www.military.ie/en/public-information/defence-forces-ceremonial/about-ceremonials/ accessed 2021-04-10).

I was rather surprised to see this reference to the Most Blessed Sacrament on the website of Óglaigh na hÉireann, the Irish Defence Forces.. To my mind, this was most unusual. I sent a letter by email to the Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney TD.

… As I understand it, the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution Act, 1972, removed from the Constitution the special position of the Catholic Church and the recognitino of other name religious denominations. I thought that Ireland was now a secular country. Why then, is the “Most Blessed Sacrament” which is only of one denomination — the Roman Catholic Church — given a pre-eminence or any recognition by the State’s forces.

Email to Minister Coveney on 2021-04-10

Two days later, I received a response and was told that he would make enquiries of his officials and get back to me. Yesterday, I received a response from the Minister’s Private Secretary.

I have engaged with my Defence Forces colleagues in relation to your enquiry and I have been advised that in the past provision was made for gun salutes to the Most Blessed Sacrament. However, this practise is no longer provided for or reference in the current Defence Forces Regulations.

References to the Gun Salute to the Most Blessed Sacrament on the website, http://www.military.ie, have now been removed.

In addition, the Defence Forces would like to affirm that it is a diverse organisation which equally recognises all religious denominatons.

Email from Cliona O’Sullivan, Private Secretary to the Minister for Defence, Mr Simon Coveney TD, 2021-05-26

I am so pleased that the Defence Forces have confirmed that they no longer favour one religious denomination over another. I am proud to be an Irishman living in the State that has become so multicultural and religiously diverse. We still need to work to ensure that public services provided by public bodies are provided without fear or favour, without references to one religious body or faith over all others.

My next question, is when was the last “50 gun salute to the Most Blessed Sacrament” fired? My suspicions are that it may have been as far back as 1932 for the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin. Does anybody know?

Written by Michæl McFarland Campbell

May 27th, 2021 at 4:45 pm