Health service on the cusp of catastrophe
In the final days of campaigning, government ministers and Taoiseach Enda Kenny discovered the distress of discretionary medical cards being reviewed and removed. Their shock and surprise at the hardship faced by family members with disabilities and terminal illnesses wasn't credible in the context of Dail debates on this topic last October.
Blaming insensitive HSE bureaucrats in Finglas was cynical, considering the Cabinet's budgetary decision to save €113m by axing 100,000 cards, which arose out of a consultancy report relating to a 'probity' review that indicated 12pc were unwarranted.
FG and Labour persisted with the view that 1.9 million medical cards (250,000 extra over the past three years) was excessive. Belated solemn promises were made to resolve anxiety in the aftermath of the poll.