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Donnelly can look to Big Jack for inspiration if he wants to 'put 'em under pressure'

Gerard O'Regan


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Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Stephen Donnelly is now the man in the gap as our health service teeters towards whatever will be its latest crisis. He can call on subtle skills learned at Harvard University. But could it be unlikely lessons from the Jack Charlton school of hard knocks that might be more critical for his survival?

When he is facing down Phil Ní Sheaghdha fighting the good fight for her nurses or taking on hospital consultants ever watchful lest the status quo come unstuck, he may well feel he risks entering a maze. One wrong move and he is gliding into a great unknown. Action on one front could spark serious reaction somewhere totally unexpected.

Whatever he says or does, our multi-billion euro health service must all the while keep ticking over. Matters of life and death forever hover. On the sidelines, politicians from every party will be determined that his decisions, right or wrong, must never threaten their re-election prospects.