Friday 28 October 2016

Nobody is accountable for our shambolic health service

Published 07/11/2015 | 02:30

Health Minister Leo Varadkar
Health Minister Leo Varadkar

Health Minister Leo Varadkar's latest little speech is absolutely typical of the reason why Ireland is disappearing down the plughole - leaving all the election hype aside.

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Nobody at Tallaght Hospital is immediately responsible for a 91-year-old being left on a trolley overnight, he effectively said. He may well be right.

But in the wider world, somebody is always responsible for things that go wrong. In Ireland, this is not always the case. The fact that the person responsible is seldom held accountable in our bureaucratic jungle is the reason that everything is getting worse.

This paper was kind enough to publish a letter of mine about five years ago saying that part of my pension was being put in a special savings fund for my own hospital trolley.

Has anything improved since then? Of course not.

It's like watching some of the illusionists in the Cirque du Soleil, where everybody seems to be hiding behind everybody else. Oh, and, as usual, not one person has so far mentioned keeping people healthier to improve the situation.

Richard Barton, Tinahely Co Wicklow

Don't blame the builders

Why is it that everything to do with the housing shortage is blamed on the house builder? Patrick Doyle's letter (Irish Independent, November 4) states that "the developers seem to want to return to the banks lending multiple times the income of the people". This is not the case.

The banks will only loan 60pc of building costs to a builder. The cost of building a houses has not changed since the boom. The Government still insists on taking up to €60,000 per unit if the land is near a Luas, the M50 or a Dart. Every material comes with 13.5pc VAT, all the workers pay the taxes like everyone buying a house, and finally on the completion of the houses, the Government takes another 13.5pc VAT.

Please try and achieve a balanced view of the situation. Builders do not want a repeat of the boom years, just for everyone to accept the simple cost of planning, building and the enormous levies imposed by the county councils and the high tax the Government takes, all based on boom-time prices.

Mary Berry, Carrickmines, Dublin 18

Making cents of it all

It appears a week is a long time in banking. Last week, the Central Bank was urging us to head to the banks and deposit our one and two cent coins and even told us if we picked the right day, the bank was doing that for free.

It now appears that one of our major banks not only doesn't want to see us, but we may need to have €3,000 in cash for that privilege. Only a few years ago, Irish banks were happy to welcome loyal customers and if you had cash to lodge, they might even offer a seat. I guess the credit unions and post offices can save on their customer advertising, for this week at least.

Owen Davin, Rockshire Road, Waterford

My 91-year-old mother suggests Bank of Ireland comes to an arrangement with An Post to handle those unwanted cash transactions, similar to what other banks have done, thus doing themselves, their customers and rural post offices a good turn.

Dermot Ennis, Dalkey, Co Dublin

The future's not so bright

Yesterday, I attended the Web Summit. I estimate that 95pc of delegates were male - you'd see more women at the Hajj - which may explain why the digital world is such a hostile place for women. Also, the amount of glum-looking men with their faces stuck in their phones was alarming. If this is a harbinger of a new era, then I have seen the future; it is joyless.

John Devlin, Erne Tce, Dublin 2

Plight of Muslims in Myanmar

I feel compelled to shed light on the continuing predicament of Muslims in Myanmar. It is often deleted from the consciousness of even Muslim and Arab countries. Rohingya Muslims endure bitterness, homelessness, incarceration, bloodshed, and undue restrictions of their civil rights, cultural, economic, social and religious human rights.

Not even a single word is whispered about the Buddhist extremism that has been gripping this South East Asian nation for decades, and derailing its voyage to democracy. Perhaps, the British government could help the junta rulers 'turned politicians' in Burma to chart the right course, and value ethnic, cultural and religious diversity and the human dignity of their countrymen.

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob, Chartley Avenue, London

Greek lecture falls on deaf ears

It is ironic that we have former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis lecturing us in this country about what constitutes a "paradigm of success".

Greece has had a succession of bailouts and defaults and he himself had to resign from his job as finance minister. I do not think, therefore, that what he says has much credibility. His mission "to save European capitalism from itself" lasted only six months and ended with Greece asking for a third bailout. Given Ireland's relative success in exiting the bailout when compared to Greece, Varoufakis's pontificating, as he said himself, only "stretches credulity".

A. Leavy, Sutton, Dublin 13

Officers were heroes of WWI

In response to Joseph Mackey (Irish Independent, November 5), although poppy snatchers may reappear during the heated atmosphere at celebrations in 2016, I like others in our republic will wear mine in remembrance for those who lost their lives both in the first and second world wars.

There is a common misconception that the officer class got off lightly in 'the Great War'.

The majority of casualties were from the working class, but the social and political elite were hit disproportionately hard.

More than 200 generals were killed, wounded or captured, and many visited the front lines every day. It was the officers that led the men over the trenches.

Tony Moriarty, Harold's Cross, Dublin

Irish Independent

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