Letters to the Editor: 'Minister is lining the pockets of management consultants and advisers in over-bloated HSE'
Health Minister Simon Harris wants to throw away €75,000 for yet another adviser (don't forget to add the VAT!) to "carry out qualitative exploration of current perceptions of the key issues and priorities among general public and stakeholders", with the aim of facilitating senior management in devising a communications plan to "identify and prioritise communications activities by audience, and review and evaluate the strategy after 12 months".
Minister, here is some free advice.
Bring the Fine Gael/Fianna Fáil/Labour deputies together, give them a few shots of whiskey - solely to give them courage, of course - then collectively agree to remove at least 50pc of the people. These three parties created jobs-for-the-party-boys-and-girls in management and clerical staff in the over-bloated HSE.
Money for management consultants is easily available, while people die awaiting treatment due to a shortage facilities for medical consultants.
Give complete control of the HSE to the medical staff. They would solve "engineered" problems very quickly, because their profession is to save lives; while Mr Harris and his political colleagues' profession appears to be about lining the pockets of consultant after consultant, along with ministerial advisers.
If senior management, in any organisation let alone the HSE, requires "external consultancy", why were any of them appointed as a manager in the first place?
It would appear there is so much "spinning" under Leo's "spin direction", the entire Fine Gael party has become so giddy and dizzy from spinning around that its thinking has become puerile.
There was the boy band One Direction - Fine Gael has a boy-and-girl band, known as 'No Direction'.
Ignore Boris - Brexit is all about a hard Border
Boris Johnson's statement that 'nobody wants a hard Border' is hypocritical.
The vote for Brexit was a vote to leave the EU and was motivated by a wish to prevent free movement of people into the UK. It was, therefore, exactly a vote for a hard Border.
Sutton, Dublin 13
Fight your own battles... don't go running to US
Ed Kelly (Letters, Irish Independent, January 19) suggests that it is high time that the Irish Government lobbies the US Congress in its attempts to safeguard the Northern Ireland backstop.
Along his road to justify his injudicious counsel, Ed, from Merseyside, seeks to draw our attention to his view that the Good Friday Agreement is a "triumph for American diplomacy".
This is certainly a new interpretation, as naïve as claiming this momentous accord was the result of the good offices of Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern. These leaders of two countries and their politicians that had no answer to the historic duplicitous machinations of the UK and the equally duplicitous acquiescence of Irish Governments that oversaw, and accepted, the iniquities inflicted upon the minority population of the Six Counties since 1921. I have in the past given my view of who history will ascribe to be the true architects of this political concord, Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, mainly the former.
It is laughable that any opinion of the US Congress would have any effect on what is happening in Europe, and it would be equally laughable that the US Congress would devote time to Europe and the Irish Border question at a time when its main concern is to defend its democracy from the sociopathic actions of its president. We should not look to others to fight battles for us, but fight our own battles.
Muswell Hill, London
Country would move with Larry, if only we could
When I was a young teenager in the late 1970s, Larry Gogan started presenting a pop music show on RTÉ Radio 1 on FM only, or VHF as it was on some radios.
This offered excellent sound quality in stereo, which was far superior to medium-wave broadcasts and was relatively new at the time. I remember telling a friend about it and he was wondering if he could adapt his radio to pick up Larry, citing the fact people built radios out of spare parts in World War II.
Now, as Larry is retiring from 2fm, he is moving to RTÉ Gold, the digital radio service, which can only be picked up on DAB radios. As for my friend in north Roscommon, I presume he has since bought an FM receiver. However, if he wants to listen to Larry broadcasting on the new platform he shouldn't hold his breath. No matter how he adapts his radio, there are no digital radio signals in that part of the country, or most parts for that matter.
Salthill, Co Galway
Leo could sort 'impact' of nurse strikes by acting
An Taoiseach suggests that the nurses should strike on a Saturday and Sunday as it would have had "the same impact politically" even though no procedures are carried out on those days. Really!
Two questions arise: firstly; why are no elective procedures carried out at weekends as that would surely cut the waiting lists and ease congestion?
Secondly; if he is so concerned about patient welfare why has Dr Varadkar not moved to sort out issues with the nurses, which have been a long time in the making?
The INMO nurses will have the support of the country, and as for Siptu stance not to support the action, there really are no words. 'Big' Jim Larkin would be spinning in his grave.
Malahide Road, Dublin
Taoiseach can 'serve his country' with a pay cut
In your piece titled "Joining Defence Forces is about more than money, says Varadkar" (Irish Independent, January 8) you outline how the Taoiseach ascribes reasons to join the Defence Forces, including "it's an opportunity to serve your country, an opportunity to travel the world". Surely the same applies for the office which Mr Varadkar himself inhabits? He appears to revel especially in the foreign sojourns, after all.
In light of this, and considering the prospect of travel is apparently enough to offset the need for one to earn a decent wage, I look forward to the Taoiseach announcing a substantial pay cut on his own behalf.
Time for the UK to take heed of the warnings
Looking at the complete breakdown in Westminster politics, and the voting pattern against Mrs May's government on a number of bills and amendments, should be a warning sign that a vote on her deal will fail next week.
What the British politic is ignoring are the warnings given by leading industrialists and farming organisations about a no-deal scenario.
A no-deal Brexit looks more likely than ever unless there is an extension to Article 50, another election or a further referendum.
Given the time frame - less than 77 days - I can't see the two latter scenarios happening unless Article 50 is extended.
Only this week, Jaguar Land Rover announced it was cutting jobs of up to 5,000 people owing to market volatility, reduced sales to China, and a drop in diesel motor vehicle sales.
There is every possibility of more job cuts right across the car manufacturing sector, also affecting businesses who depend on them, in the not-too-distant future given the insecurity and volatility in the market and a slowdown in consumer spending.
Farming organisations in the UK have been meeting Westminster MPs to impress on them what will happen if there is a no-deal scenario. This will have serious implications right across the sector with regards to exports of animals and animal-based products from the UK to the European Union. Tariffs that could be imposed range from 65pc on beef to 26pc on chicken.
A 12-strong Northern Ireland retail consortium delegation also went to meet MPs in Westminster this week. Like other organisations, it is asking what the Brexiteers' alternative deal will be if the present deal is voted down.
While the parties ruminate over the backstop and what legal guarantees they can get from Brussels, the clock is ticking with a divided nation on the brink of devastating consequences over its inability to listen to the professionals who provide jobs and stability, leaving their political egos aside.
Letterkenny, Co Donegal