Saturday 10 December 2016

Health Minister Varadkar is a man with a fighting chance

Published 21/08/2014 | 02:30

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar. Photo credit: Frank Mc Grath
Minister for Health Leo Varadkar. Photo credit: Frank Mc Grath

MIKE Tyson, the former fearsome and frightening World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, just might have some timely advice for Leo Varadkar. Tyson has been in some tight corners in his time, but always prided himself on being ultra-prepared for the worst that might happen. At the end of his career he became convinced the unexpected is the most ominous enemy of all. But there is little that can be done to prepare for it. "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face," he concluded.

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So it is with our new Health Minister, who has emerged as a kind of Steve Silvermint for the Fine Gael Party. There is clearly more than a fair wind at his back, as he takes over a portfolio that over the years has bested some really big-name politicians. However, he has started the new job in a swoon of expectancy. There is a palpable undercurrent that if anybody can get to grips with some of its intractable dilemmas, he can. And the advice as to what he must do has been coming thick and fast.

As James Reilly - who it seems was also bested by the system - will tell anybody who cares to listen, there are no easy options left in the provision of healthcare in Ireland. It's fraught on nearly every front.

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