Author of three collections published by Doire Press, in 2016 - 2018 Susan's poems have appeared, among elsewhere, in: The Cafe Review, Oregan, USA - Gather In, in a Special Irish Edition; Bosom Pals,Ed Marie Cadden (Doire Press, 2017) an anthology entirely in aid of Breast Cancer Research in the National UniveristyHospital, Galway and When They've Grown Another Me in Poetry Ireland Review, Dec 2018. January 2018 has seen her poems Commended in the Gregory O'Donoghue Poetry Competition.

She has been an invited reader of her poems at local readings in Galway, Cork and Dublin and at festivals, including the Belfast Book Festival, Cuirt International Festival of Literature and Clifden Arts Festival. Her poems have been read on radio.

Susan completed her degree in social science and qualified as a professional social worker in Trinity College, Dublin 1975. She was a psychotherapist, trainer, facilitator and occasional consultant to organisations for over thirty years until her retirement in 2012. Drawing together her writing with her earlier skills she has written interviews and facilitated conversations mediated by poetry. She continues to work on a manuscript relating the story of starting out in poetry and a mid-life move West along with occasional other creative non-fiction pieces.

Her workshop Having a New Conversation: About Dreaming was listed on the The Cuirt International Festival of Literature Programme (2015) and she facilitates similar workshops on a variety of themes, discussed through the medium of poetry, regularly and occasionally in local community settings.

While a founding editor of Skylight 47 Susan interviewed: then Ireland Professor of Poetry, Harry Clifton; Kay Ryan, former US Poet Laureate invited to Ireland by Dromineer Literature Festival and Dani Gill who talks about curating The Cuirt International Literature Festival. Her most recent interview, of Maeve O'Sullivan, appears in The Honest Ulsterman February, 2018.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Open Letter to Deputy John Halligan and Others lobbying for change in the health services.

You might be most effective backing Consultant's Report and ensuring Government act on its recommendations.

The Consultant's Report that more staff, back-up and increased opening hours in the existing cardiac unit in Waterford rather than a new cardiac unit would most effectively improve the lives of Waterford citizens probably make sense and could be by far the most effective in bringing about change in the short term. This should be good news for public representatives who could now negotiate to ensure such relatively easy-to-implement actions take place immediately. The Independents are in a strong position, given their negotiating leverage in the current government.
Building units takes time and involves a range of possible obstructions down the road when your negotiating position may not be so strong. The National Children's Hospital project might be a warning.

Long term budgets for adequate service provision not capital projects should be paramount

On a recent course (Spring 2016) with FLIRTFM in conjunction with the community radio CRAOL Programme - Speaking Up For A Change for over 50’s - it became clear, talking with retired administrative and social staff and patients who had been at the coal-face of the HSE over a long time, that when administrators are asked to find cuts - and that’s pretty much every year - the first budgets cut are those for pay and services. This could be changed relatively quickly if we had the will. Buildings and capital expenditure budgets are less easy to cut but also are for projects that take much longer to provide.  The real outcome wanted is for access to good enough service.

Maximise what we have

In the conversation it became really clear that staff and adequate resources to maximise the use of the buildings and expensive machines and to make them work are what continually get cut. This problem could be solved most easily were the will there to do it - which there isn’t. We say we want improved community care and to maximise the use of hospital resources and then cut the budgets for every initiative put in place to make it work. We were talking about mental health budgets but it was clear the finding was true across the board. We need long-term ring-fenced budgets for this first and foremost. (The resulting programmes from the Speaking Up for A Change will be broadcast on community radio across the country over the autumn/winter season).

Deputies, do you want to cut the ribbon on a new unit or ensure your constituents get the service they are desperate for? 

You may be in a position to choose the best option to get them the service it needs. Deputy Halligan, it your case it will mean retaining your position to ensure whatever you can get agreed actually happens.

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