A LOCAL number cruncher is sharpening his sword as he allows his pencil to do the talking in his attempts to solve a conundrum of a spike in local deaths, notably sudden/unexpected passings.
Thomastown accountant Patrick E. Walsh had published the results of a survey he carried out through Rip.ie and it made concerning reading.
He showed that deaths were up dramatically in his native Kilkenny and his concern at what he termed frightening figures prompted him to contact county councilors in his Thomastown Electoral Area with the nuts and bolts of his crunching.
Overall deaths in County Kilkenny were up 30.4% for July to October 2022 compared to July to October 2019 (Pre Covid for Comparison).
Sudden/Unexpected deaths in County Kilkenny were up 120.83% for July to October 2022 compared to July to October 2019 (Pre Covid for Comparison).
Mr Walsh has now broadened his battlefield to include all county councilors in Kilkenny in the hope of sparking real action as he again points out that sudden deaths are continuing to grow.
He has described councillors as people of trust and influence and hence his great hope is that they will spark an investigation on behalf of the people who elected them.
An eerie silence followed.
A story that would normally have attracted front page headlines and radio and television ‘breaking news’ was being ignored by practically all journalists.
The campaigner has not made any suggestion as to what death spikes could mean or what may be the cause of them.
He has said in a local interview that he would be happy if a credible investigation were to declare that the deaths, while heartbreaking on families, were no reason for public alarm.
That or any other outcome can only come from a forensic investigation but apathy amongst the lowest level of politics suggests that the question or cause may continue to be an open wound.
For instance, one only of five local county councillors initially responded and that was only after Independent News Outlet, Kilkenny Press took up the story.
Former Mayor of Kilkenny, Michael Doyle may have accidentally added fuel to any fire with his lone comment.
He said there had been ‘an alarming’ number of deaths in his local bailiwicks of the Rower and Inistioge.
Apart from concerned comments in Facebook pages attached to Kilkenny Press, the worrying figures didn’t seem to spark real worry.
A gentleman from Wicklow and a lady from Waterford contacted Kilkenny Press, voicing their fear and telling of a spate of deaths in Wicklow and Waterford.
Ignoring the silence of mainstream media including national newspapers, radio and TV, along with local papers and commercial radio, Community Radio Kilkenny City asked pertinent questions.
The station showed courage and community awareness by interviewing Mr Walsh and journalist, Jimmy Rhatigan, to then the only writer who had taken up the cudgels.
A circa 15-minute slot on CRKC’s Friday current affairs programme , Kilkenny Today, presented and produced by Eugene Doyle, for the most championed the ethics of good journalism as it focused on all sides of a story that is prompting more questions.
Patrick has just emailed all local councillors suggesting urgent discussions on his findings.
Contacted were Matt Doran, Michael Doyle, Joe Lyons, Peter Cleere, Deirdre Cullen, Pat O’Neill, John Brennan, Mary Hilda Cavanagh, Michael Delaney, Pat Fitzpatrick, Denis Hynes, Martin Brett, John Coonan, David Fitzgerald, Joe Malone, Andrew McGuinness, Eugene McGuinness, Maria Dollard, Eamon Aylward, Tomás Breathnach, Fidelis Doherty, Pat Dunphy, Ger Frisby and Seán McKeown of Kilkenny County Council.
He has acknowledged that Councillor Mary Hilda Cavanagh had contacted him and they had a discussion.
He was happy that she said she hoped to bring up the matter at a future meeting.
He told Kilkenny Press there were no other contacts up to Sunday, November 20 but he appreciated that this did not mean that action is not being taken behind the scenes.
Patrick suggested an urgent discussion of his death figures and any possible consequences for the people of Kilkenny under Any Other Business at the Plenary Meeting of Kilkenny County Council scheduled for Monday, November 21.
Patrick also told Kilkenny Press Editor, Jimmy Rhatigan that he had contacted Editor, Sam Matthews and Kilkenny People Newspaper reporters pointing out that there had been two issues of the newspaper since it had received the result of his original research on overall and sudden deaths in Kilkenny.