Wednesday 26 April 2017

Kevin Myers: Suffocating silence is Ireland's weakness

Look; I've been living in Ireland longer than most Irish people have been alive, but sometimes -- no, often -- I think I understand the country no more than I did the day I arrived at Mrs Higgins's boarding house at the back of the Stella Cinema, Rathmines.

How is it possible that we are importing doctors from all over the world, even though we have given free college education to all medical students for the past 16 years? Irish medical schools for decades provided doctors for native needs, plus the US, Canadian, Australian and British medical systems, as well as the Royal Army Medical Corps. That was when people had to pay for medical education, as my father did in the College of Surgeons: yet poor backward peasant Ireland still kept much of the English-speaking world supplied with doctors. Now we can't even keep our own hospitals staffed. We are wholly dependent on doctors from the developing world to maintain what we laughingly call a medical service, even as we preen and posture and pose about the money we are giving to the very countries from which we are luring doctors. How? Why?

Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital seems to have been put on this earth solely to establish a statistical balance for the miracles at the other Lourdes: one giveth, and the other all too often taketh away, in a sort of medical expression of Newton's laws of physics. How is it that no one is in jail for the horrors that have occurred in that hospital? Because it's Ireland: that, apparently, is an answer.

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