Friday 20 April 2018

Blood will be on the unions' hands

Croke Park deal will hit patient care, yet no one is lobbing paint at the unions, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

The last time paint was used to humiliate a serving Government minister was when that teacher hung a crude portrait, in the National Gallery, of the Taoiseach sitting on the toilet. Last week, the stuff was used rather more directly, as Mary Harney was covered in red paint during a sod-turning ceremony at a new unit of Cherry Orchard hospital in West Dublin.

That the self-righteous little sod who turned on her that day happened to be another woman was an interesting detail. Chivalry would surely kick in and prevent most men from taking such a symbolically loaded course of action as to physically assault a woman, however much they might disagree with her politics.

Caution would play a role too. Male protesters who take the controversial path of force get a rougher time of it in return from security men. If the Minister for Health had been attacked by a man, that man might have got a slap or two back for his trouble, whereas there was never any chance of Louise Minihan, the former Sinn Fein councillor turned campaigner for republican nutjobs Eirigi, being roughed up.

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