I don’t care if the Sinn Fein motion of no confidence in the frowning Minister Harris was doomed to failure because it was absolutely justified and quite clearly the Minister is “out of his depth”. The whole saga of the Children’s Hospital makes my stomach churn. I spent a good portion of Monday gazing at the site from my room in St. James’s Hospital and it occurred to me as I stared at the frenetic activity below that perhaps all concerned were hurtling ahead with this project in the hopes of getting it sufficiently above ground to make it more difficult to call a halt to this madness. I will make no bones about it, the hospital is in the wrong place. Quite frankly they would have been more sensible to have provided an additional car park and even accommodation for the nurses working in the hospital. I have heard too many stories of nurses getting up at all hours to secure a parking space, struggling with exorbitant rents or having to commute long distances to get to work. The problem is a total lack of joined up thinking. Personally speaking, locating the hospital in Blanchardstown would be a hell of a lot more practical for both staff, patients and parents but this Minister doesn’t do practical and the Taoiseach is not far behind him.
Now focusing on Wonder Boy Harris’s behaviour, one thing puzzles me. I simply do not think it is credible that he didn’t flag this debacle to the Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance as soon as he heard about it. This nonsense about waiting for the detail looks to me like hogwash. Maybe the consideration was that the Blue Shirts were facing into a possible election in the autumn of last year and that if evidence got out too early of financial incontinence on this scale it would be extremely damaging to Fine Gael’s reputation for financial prudence. Is it possible that they collectively decided to put a lid on it ? However, if that is not the case and Harris kept it to himself that’s equally damning. It does not take a genius to realise that a fiscal hole of this size was going to have widespread and ongoing implications. Finally, I have to say that Harris’s whole approach to this matter bordered on the childish. This “bring it on” remark was more suited to a university debating society than dealing with a motion of no confidence in our parliament.
What of Fianna Fail ? I can understand the utter frustration of John McGuinness TD, and much of the rank and file of his party. However, Micheal Martin is right, we do not need an election now, but mark my words this government has run its course. Post Brexit anything could happen.