Monday 5 December 2016

Varadkar must be held to account

Published 06/12/2015 | 02:30

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar
Minister for Health Leo Varadkar

The Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar recently told the Public Relations Institute of Ireland that the secret of his success was a good bedside manner - which is all very well for a career politician but not of much benefit to those who depend on a health service that is still far from fit for purpose.

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As the body politic gears up for a general election early next year, the business of governing has increasingly taken a back seat to the business of winning votes, a 'showtime' event every few years during which citizens are expected to suspend reality against a promise of something better.

Mr Varadkar has many fine qualities as a man to match his élan as a politician, but no amount of bedside manner can mask his failure to get to grips with the health service. In that regard, he is the latest in a long line of figureheads in the Department of Health who have failed to contend with the vested interests and contradictory systems at play in this area.

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