The health sector has not been quiet over the last few weeks, with nurses striking for more pay and better conditions and the news that the new National Children’s Hospital is way over budget. The meaning of “way over budget” is an understatement with the report that the builder alone has tacked on over €391 million in extra payments. These charges have been described as “cost overruns” (that’s newspeak for money disappearing through the floorboards or back-handers or whatever you want to call it .. like corruption or stealing money from taxpayers) by the Government and their media lackeys. My background is in farming but I would know a little bit about getting things done on a budget.
Seemingly those in government know nothing about money management or know very little yet have been given the country to run. Those who ask for money for well-intentioned projects are always told there is no money there for them. There would want to be some explanation for these “cost over-runs !!!!!!!” as the price of building materials hasn’t gone up significantly neither has the wages of the builders so why are these enormous charges been added on ? Some explanation is required here.
No one seems to be taking responsibility here. You would not be allowed to have these “cost over-runs” in the private sector so why are so many of these capital projects costing 3/4 times the price of work elsewhere. It seems that taxpayer’s money is meant to disappear somehow. Corrupt practises abound.
Take the case of the “National Maternity Hospital” the government was going to gift over €300 million in a new hospital to the nuns till people kicked up about it. Wisely so. My view is that the new Children’s Hospital should be put out to tender again as a way of controlling “cost overruns“.
As “over-runs” such as this are grounds for dismissal in any case (the builder in this case or the project management ). Maybe our health minster Simon Harris would stick to journalism. We need better politics and better people in politics perhaps someone who has experience in running a business. What’s running the show at the moment will not do.
British Prime minster Theresa May is making news with her deal she struck with the EU being voted down by MP’s in Westminster parliament. She (Theresa May) faced a revolt by members of her own conservative party who felt the Brexit “deal” didn’t give the Brits enough and believe that more can be got.
What has it got to do with us you say ?A lot considering the amount of trade between the two countries (Ireland/England) is of a two way nature . Many Business’s fear a “No deal” will increase costs, red tape and lead to containers having to be checked before entering Britain. Irish Agriculture may find increased competition from low cost countries like Brazil and Argentina as Britain may make trade deals with someone like the Mercosur bloc and others. So it effects us.
Britain never really in favour of the EU , finally voted themselves out 52-48 % in 2016 with immigration being the issue that won it for the Leave side. If Britain keeps to the March 29th deadline they are now likely to crash out of the EU, which is not really in anyone interests. The Brits have really rocked the boat this time but they are big enough to weather the storm. But likely to take some losses in the process. Whatever arrangements the Brits finally agree to or not agree to will effect their economy to some degree.
Another side effect of Brexit is the possibly the re-introduction of some border checks up in the North of Ireland. At present the border is non existent, it is a open drive all the way up. Nationalist parties and border communities have campaigned hard for no border checks to reintroduced and seemingly have got Dublin and the European commission to listen which makes a change for once. However Unionists in particular the DUP have kicked up a fuss wanting the exact same arrangements as Britain. Worse May’s government relies on the DUP for votes in Parliament and is likely to support Unionist’s/DUP ignorance of historical and geographic location. So they may(!) be trouble down the line.
Personally I have a lot of issues with the EU especially their conduct in the Lisbon treaty campaign/ Colm and Jim Jim Dj’s broadcasts but still believe that pulling out of the EU altogether is a mistake. The world is getting smaller and places like Europe face increased competition from China, India, Brazil etc… That doesn’t forgive the EU for being a boss’s club or the “race to the bottom” on workers rights, conditions and pay. Maybe one day we will change the EU to becoming more a people centered organisation. That’s a Maybe, a big one. A after thought is that on my journey through life, I saw a notice in a factory telling Workers that it takes seven times the effort to get a new customer than to keep a old customer. So that is something the English might take note of.
I got to spend my time on Christmas eve waiting in A&E in the Regional hospital Limerick, the person I was waiting with had a swollen leg which they found very sore. I took over from my sister at about 6.30 pm and proceeded to wait till 1.15 am Christmas day. The A&E dept. was fairly full on arrival but managed to get through the double doors to relieve my sister. I thought the maximum wait times was three hours but on arrival was told I could possibly have to wait 7 .5 to 8 hours to be seen.
The staff looked like they were busy but they didn’t seem to merit any prizes for efficiency either. It was along wait and the vending machines didn’t work either. Surely they could cut down the waiting times some what, I believe they were down to three hours years before and patients should be seen in a 3 hour time span, waiting up to 8 hours it is too long.
They should hire more doctors or nurses to alleviate the workload or send non urgent cases to an out of hours gp service. Also more wards should be opened up to stop patients ending up on trolleys for the night. There is a lot of mismanagement in hospitals and the public service seems to be very badly run. One wonders how all the money is spent and if it is spent wisely which I very much doubt. Time for improvements here.
One of the latest pronouncements of our Foreign Minster is that a United Ireland is “off the table” as concerns Brexit (UK leaving the EU). Simon Coveney or his party is not know for a nationalist stance on the North, indeed consigning the matter to “Foreign affairs” like if any part of Ireland is foreign, ok maybe Cork that a jest there.
I wouldn’t be too perplexed about “Brexit” being the reason for a referendum but the time is coming for one to be held in the next ten years at least. The issue needs to be addressed and it is in Ireland (32 counties) interest to be a united country as it would be a much stronger country than a divided one.
In saying that you would be better knocking your head off a wall than getting that through to Fianna fail and fine gael. They seem oblivious to Ireland’s long term interests and only act in support of a small section of the community… their own voters basically. That’s a topic for another day but it must be said that Ireland needs better politics than we got at the moment. To sum it up my judgement on Simon Coveney is that he is on the wrong side of history and maybe he should join the right side for the big win.
Monday 10th December was the anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights which was declared in December 1948. They are good principles to live by but its a shame that nearly all governments just pay lip service to them. Don’t think the world as such has progressed a lot since 1948. Here’s two short videos to explain them to you. See whether you believe your country measures up.
Sinn Fein have been making noise about a Border poll for a while now, it is also the twentieth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, the hundredth anniversary of the 1918 election and in a few weeks that of the first Dáil.
What is one to say I’m not a fan of the Good Friday Agreement which I see as having conceded rather a lot to Unionists and to the British Government. Unionists/ British Government obtained the “consent” clause in the Good Friday agreement which necessitated the approval of the unionist community to any changes in the “North” and copper fastened the Gerrymander which they call Northern Ireland.
Incidentally the British never needed the consent of the Irish people to partition Ireland, for treaty Ports, oath of allegiances to the British monarch and so on. So why do we need theirs ?
Ok back to a Border Poll, Sinn Fein feels the time is right for one, shifting population trends in the North will a put a catholic/nationalist “majority” in a few years and Sinn fein feels they will vote for a United Ireland . One wonders, asking the Unionists to vote for United Ireland is a tall order indeed ! But one feels that a section of unionism will make a deal when it comes to the point.
The major road block to a United Ireland is however is London which has a conservative government and which will not countenance a Referendum on the North joining the rest of Ireland. The “English” have been down on the Irish for centuries and looted the country for as long.
Then there is the puppet show in Dublin to overcome, all of this to put Ireland back together.
One feels to have realistic chance of winning a referendum in the six counties, is that one will need to be In government in the south and have access to the chequebook to win. My feelings are that one will have to offer something to win, perhaps a Nhs type healthcare in the south, changes to the tax system, money for infrastructure in the North and so on. Something to offer I believe is a necessity, coming empty handed or a situation where the population of the North would lose out could possibility end in defeat.
One is out to win not to lose, it is likely to cost a bit but Ireland would be way stronger United ! It would be a better investment than “Nama” and the bank bailouts that fianna fail signed us up to. Only time will tell what course Ireland takes in the next ten years.
Making the news is one James McClean footballer, Derryman who refuses to wear the poppy for his English football club in the run-up to the hundred year commemoration of the first world war. His stance is that “poppy wearing” commemorates all the British war dead and not just those who died in World War 1 and 2. He (McClean) also insists that the British army have a long history of oppression in Ireland and in particular his home town of Derry.
Being Irish I would tend to agree with him on the stance of the British army which actively fought against Irish freedom and the threat of armed invasion in 1921- forced the partition of Ireland against the wishes of the majority. Personally I wouldn’t countenance wearing the poppy and feel that it is unfitting for a Irish person to wear one. I don’t object to people going to Commemorations but see the poppy wearing as sucking up to the “Brits” and their imperialism of the past . My point of view is that the over 300,000 Irishmen who fought in the Great War fought for Britain and her empire and not for Ireland.
Another point to make what was World War 1 about ? Some Austrian Archduke who though of high rank wasn’t very popular at the time. WW 1 wasn’t fought for the freedom of anybody though it brought the end of many of the empires in Europe by the time it was finished. The “peace” that was made left Europe simmering for another war which came twenty years later. There was little justification for sending millions of men over the top to their death, one can remember the dead but not the reasons they were sent to war in the first place.
Something that has come to my notice is the fact that RTE and other media are portraying Fianna fail’s Micheal Martin as the next Taoiseah without there being a general election. Surely this is “the cart before the horse” kinda of stuff and an attempt to “lead” people into voting for Fianna fail. Its an undemocratic method of trying to influence people into voting for Tweedledum or Tweedledee.
People should be able to make a decision on whom they will vote for when all the facts are laid before then and not before. The media including Rte are doing the people no favors and acting in the interests of their owners, Mi5 and other parties who don’t want to see any change in Ireland’s political scene.
I don’t any reason for anyone to put their trust in Fianna fail as they left the “state” almost bankrupt and a huge increase in the national debt for which every man, woman and child owes €45,000. That’s hardly a recommendation for Fianna fail and their “Boom Bust ” politics. Both Fianna fail and Fine Gael are know for their graft and the fact that they stand for very little except maintaining the Status Quo (of serving the rich).
Ireland(26 counties) needs a change of politics to reach our full potential and to ensure that everyone is given a fair chance to succeed and not told to emigrate by our political landlords. In the meantime someone needs to kick up a fuss on the behavior of RTE and other media.