Monday 19 March 2018

Johnny Fallon: HSE in danger of turning into a political football again

THE government continues to struggle on in the Dáil this week. Yet again James Reilly has caused them some problems over hospital funding for TD colleagues but nothing they can’t get over. The opposition may call for heads but they are unlikely to get them just yet. Every party in the Dáil knows that while the actions may not sit right with many, if the Minister were to resign over this issue it would fall back on every TD in the house eventually.

There is of course a very real problem with Minister Reilly’s actions but it is too delicate for the politicians to start splitting hairs. The problem was not so much that constituency TDs lobbied on behalf of their hospital but rather that the decision seemed to be taken over the heads of the HSE and with poor communication of the decision by the minister.

This poses questions because the HSE is set to return to ministerial control. This brings us back full circle. Cast your mind back before the HSE was created. There were problems with health boards and the perception of political interference. In an attempt to rid the system of this the monolithic HSE was created as an independent body. No more could politicians rule the roost and interfere in the process.

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