Sunday, January 10, 2010

So an Irishman walks into a salt mine and...

Many years ago, while I was studying my second undergraduate degree and generally mispending my youth, I shared a house with two guys from Cork and another from Donnegal. To this day I can still remember how to score pot in Irish Gaelic (although in a fit of Clinton-esque arse-coverage I would like to officially state that "I didn't inhale") and exactly why the name of Irish band "The Pogues" is funny. (It was reportedly meant to be The Pogue Mahones, but they shortened it.)

I'm not sure why I'm telling you all this, except that the climate weather snow has hit Ireland hard, with the government ordering Irish embassy staff in Europe to get chummy with any industry contacts they have to source rock salt and grit, which they are desperately low on. (And no, unfortunately I don't know the Irish for "can you score me a tanker of salt").

This approach actually worked, and they have cut a deal for 25, 000 tons of salt with Poland. A nation that obviously has a soft spot for Ireland after Irish traffic cops inadvertently let Polish drivers in Ireland rack up fines under the singular identity of someone called Prawo Jazdy, or "Drivers Licence" as he prefers to be called at home.

In some areas they have sent the army in to help, and hospitals are also feeling the strain:
Hospitals across the country remained busy, with many reporting a 70% increase in the number of patients presenting themselves at accident and emergency units with fractures requiring treatment. Emergency medicine consultants are reporting that a high percentage of these fractures are complex and require surgery. Doctors in Cork reported treating 1,000 fractures since the cold snap began.
The population of county Cork is only 480, 000. To put this into some kind of perspective, every year approx. 1% of the Australian population suffers injury from a fall. Of that 1%, 15% of those people sustained a fracture as a result of the fall. Thats over the course of a year. Now, its late at night and I get a little innumerate after a hot day and a couple of beers, but I just worked out that gives us a rate of around 32,061 people suffering fall-related fractures a year. Thats like 1 in 666 (gotta love that number) of the entire population of Australia. The population of Cork had about 1 in 480 of its population fractured in a matter of weeks. Ouch.

1 comment:

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