Wednesday 17 January 2018

Kevin Myers: Only an O'Leary would be able to make HSE work

THERE are certain states about which any allegation is just about believable. If Reuters was to report that North Korea had embarked upon a plan to tow icebergs from the North Pole to Antarctica, one would nod one's head and declare: sounds like North Korea all right. If we reported that Robert Mugabe had announced that he was to annexe Chile and Tibet, no one would doubt he'd said such things. There is a third state in this world, about which any assertion, no matter how absurd, is believable: the HSE.

Just how many readers doubted Saturday's report about the HSE moving a chef, at €46,000 a year, from a defunct unit to a new children's unit in which the kitchen did not have the facilities for him to cook hot food and so the HSE (us, actually) had also paid out another €155,000 to a local bar for food for patients? Answer: absolutely none. Par for the course, would have been the consensus.

Health in Ireland is the strange meridian where life's impossibles come together, where the equator meets the two poles, she-imams say Mass, and Jewish zealots gorge on spam. Is Ireland the only country in Europe to have named a hospital after a man who gave a gun to his 14-year old son, with the instruction to go out and kill his fellow countrymen? Certainly, Ireland is the only country anywhere to have announced that all pensioners could have free flu jabs, at €30 a go, which is what GPs have been charging per patient. To put that "free" 10-second €30 jab in perspective, a three-course dinner with a glass of wine in the legendary Ballymore Inn costs only €22. Two jabs, therefore, nearly equals dinner plus wine for three.

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