Thursday 14 December 2017

Lower expectations are just not enough

LEO Varadkar remains popular for many valid reasons. His fresh and honest approach to politics has an appeal. People also respect his acknowledgement that he is gay and that he is the first member of government to do this.

But more than a year after he has taken over as Ireland's Health Minister, he has finally begun to run out of political road. The opposition have been saying for a long time that the Minister has been behaving as a pundit or independent commentator on the woes of the health services.

It has been novel and good on one level to hear the Minister empathise with suffering people rather than the traditional approach of reading a defence of the indefensible provided by departmental officials. But let's recall that the Minister is the person responsible and the buck stops on his or her desk.

Let us also recall that the Fine Gael party made a big play of revamping the troubled health services. They told us it would take two government terms - but promised some major reform milestones in this term.

Minister Varadkar has so far lowered expectations about health service improvements. And that is not enough.

Irish Independent

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