Damian Mac Con Uladh

Posts Tagged ‘Austerity’

A parent’s worst nightmare on Kos

In Greece on 21 October 2014 at 12:28 pm
Loukas didn't get the 'care he deserved', says his mother Sarah Spanos (Photo: Sarah Spanos/Facebook)

Loukas didn’t get the ‘care he deserved’, says his mother Sarah Spanos (Photo: Sarah Spanos/Facebook)

The mother of a toddler from the island of Kos who died en route to hospital in Athens earlier this month after suddenly falling ill hours before has blamed the “terrible standard of healthcare” on the island for his unexpected death.

Sarah Spanos, originally from the UK, believes her “very happy healthy little boy” Loukas, who was only 18 months when he died, didn’t get the care he deserved on the Dodecanese island, where the local hospital has been without a paediatrician for four years, leaving parents to rely on local private doctors. In recent years, islanders have repeatedly highlighted the effects of austerity cuts on public healthcare on the island, said to be the birthplace of Hippocrates, leaving the local hospital understaffed.

Loukas was pronounced dead at around 5.30am on October 4 in an Athens hospital, 14 hours after his mother noticed that he had a temperature.

“Every detail of that night will haunt us forever,” says Sarah, who eight years ago moved from the UK to Kos after meeting her husband Dimitris, whom she married four years later.

Deeply concerned for the wellbeing of their other son, they have now decided to return to the UK as a result of losing Loukas. “Our life has been destroyed. We must leave our family, our home, everything we love to keep our remaining child safe,” she says.

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New film follows the transformation of the Agora from democracy to the market

In Greece, Greek crisis on 15 October 2014 at 1:56 pm


A hard-hitting documentary about the Greek crisis will have its world premiere world premiere on November 9 at the upcoming Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival (CPH:DOX), which runs from 6–16 November 2014.

Entitled Agorá, the 90-minute film is by award-winning Greek journalist and filmmaker Yorgos Avgeropoulos, who created the successful Exandas documentary series that ran on ERT public television until the station’s closure by the coalition government in June 2013.

AGORA – From Democracy to the Market [Trailer] from Small Planet Productions on Vimeo.

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‘We’re dying to pay our taxes’

In General, Greek crisis on 6 October 2014 at 9:42 am

This is the transcript of a “Reporter’s notebook” piece I did for BBC Radio Scotland’s “Good Morning Scotland” programme that was broadcast on Saturday 4 October 2014. 

Like thousands of citizens, Nikolas Elliniadis had left it to deadline day to go to his bank, in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second city, to pay the first of six instalments of Greece’s new property tax, the latest levy to hit a population beleaguered after five years of austerity.

Finding a long queue, the 70-year-old pensioner took a number, sat down and prepared himself for a long wait in the crowded room as flustered officials tried to process a last-minute deluge of property tax remittances.

In many cases, these were being paid with pensions that had been distributed only the day before.

An hour and a half later, after saying he wasn’t feeling well, Elliniadis collapsed.

He was having a heart attack. Although his fellow customers and the emergency services did what they could, he was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.

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Greece comes last in EU social justice index

In General, Greek crisis on 16 September 2014 at 10:34 am
An image from the report's cover

An image from the report’s cover

A report that found that Greece ranks last among the EU’s 28 members in terms of social justice has urged the government to do more to concentrate its efforts not only on returning to a stable path of growth, but also on improving participation opportunities for a broader portion of the population.

Published by the German Bertelsmann Foundation, the report (pdf) said while Greece, along with Spain and Italy, has a comparably high GDP per capita, it performed “far worse” in the social justice index rankings, which measures performance in poverty prevention, access to education, access to the labour market, social cohesion, non-discrimination, health and intergenerational equity.

“Greece is at the bottom of the ranking with a youth unemployment rate of nearly 60%, a rapid increase in the risk of poverty, particularly among children and youth, a health care system badly undermined by austerity measures, discrimination against minorities as a result of strengthened radical political forces, and an enormous mountain of debt that represents a mortgage on the future of coming generations,” the report found.

“The resulting diminution of prospects for broad swathes of society represents a significant danger to the country’s political and social stability. These developments illustrate that the cuts induced by the crisis are not administered in a balanced way throughout the population,” it noted.

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