Posted on 11th August 2018

Slane Castle

There was a time, not very long ago, when Simon Harris, the Minister for Health, was seen as the rising star of Fine Gael.  Indeed, during the referendum campaign he outshone the Taoiseach.  There was talk that here was the makings of a future leader, but oh dear, he has come a cropper in Angola, as Brian Cowen once described the Department of Health.  Then, if he comes out with such rubbish as “de-siloing the health sector” I do not have a great deal of sympathy for him.  I do not know what it will take to reform the Health Service until there is the absolute will to cut out all unnecessary waste, question all expenditure in a sensible manner and concentrate resources where they are needed, and that is with front line staff.  We must find a way to structure things so we hold onto badly needed talent.   I have been gravely ill recently and I know who saved my life, my oncologist and the doctors who worked with her, together with the nurses who cared for me.  Yet, I could still see the waste of resources.  Our politicians have a duty to the nation to sort this out.  It is, quite frankly, their primary duty.

Now to less serious matters.  The race for the Aras.  I am still puzzled by Gavin Duffy’s running for the Presidency.  It was the subject of much discussion at a lunch I attended recently where several of the attendees knew him.  The conclusion remains that it is a branding exercise and until that impression changes, I don’t think he’s going to make any headway.  More interesting, Senator Gerard Craughwell has returned to the fray on the question of Michael D. Higgins’s expenses, most particularly suggesting the President spent two nights in the Beau-Rivage Hotel in Geneva where suites are currently advertised at between €2,749 to €3,095 a pop.  I have two comments to make about this.  Firstly, the President’s expenses are going to become an issue in this campaign and we have every right to know what expenses the President is incurring.  After all, we pick up the tab.  The President should open the books.  Secondly, is Senator Craughwell judging that there is a possibility that Michael D’s campaign is going to implode and that the other candidates are not of sufficient calibre to seize the prize, so finding a reason to return to the fray ?

Finally to Donald Trump.  I do not know where Mr. Mueller’s investigation is going, but I hope they nail Trump for obstruction of justice.  Mark my words, he is playing with fire.  His sanctions on Iran could trigger an oil squeeze and a global recession.  Hold onto your seats.

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