Saturday 3 December 2016

Enda has given his golden boy Harris a real hospital pass

Published 19/05/2016 | 02:30

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Health Minister Simon Harris outside Government Buildings Photo: Tom Burke
Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Health Minister Simon Harris outside Government Buildings Photo: Tom Burke

The appointment of Simon Harris to the searingly hot seat of Health Minister has all the appearances of a serious political mistake.

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To be fair, Fine Gael's shooting star has blazed a trail. His adept playing of a sweeper's role in the European elections marked him out from other backbenchers. His reward was a junior ministry at Finance, where he benefited greatly from Michael Noonan's generous delegation of duties.

But Taoiseach Enda Kenny hasn't done him any favours by parachuting him into Hawkins House. It is a political minefield and the most seasoned campaigners have wilted in the white heat of battle. That is why it has to be asked: what does this 29-year-old raw recruit, with a journalism degree, know about the complexities of acute hospital care or tertiary medicine? What skills or experience has he to draw on to deal with a myriad of vested interests, protecting administrative empires and massive budgets?

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