Whats the story at the Department of Health?
What’s all this beef at the Department of Health then?
Well James Riley aka Fr Fintan Stack is having some trouble in the department. His Junior minister Roisin Shorthall has up sticks and resigned.
Well they weren’t exactly bosom buddies for a while now. The last straw seemed to come last week when it was revealed that Riley got two locations in his own constituency added to the list for primary care unit development which didn’t meet the criteria Shorthall had set out.
Haven’t politicians always done that sort of thing, looked after their own?
Sure have, but Roisin Shorthall clearly doesn’t agree that’s acceptable anymore. The locations for the primary care units were chosen after being assessed and graded; choosing them because it will get you votes makes a bit of a mockery of the process, although Riley has given reasons and defended his decision.
So she stood up for what she believed in ?
Yeah: stop the press, a politician with actual principals. She also felt that she couldn’t fulfil the promises laboured made in their pre-election manifesto. She has lost the Labour party whip.
That sounds kinky.
Trust us, there’s nothing kinky about an Irish politician. It just means that she has been booted out of the Labour parliamentary party but remains a member of the party in general.
My head hurts
Sorry, but Irish politics and politicians can be a bit confusing at times. Particularly in the area of tax compliance!
So is Riley just useless then
That’s a bit harsh. The Department of Health is extremely difficult to deal with, and no-one has ever really been able to get to grips with it, it’s like a monster. Riley is a doctor so has first-hand knowledge of what needs to be done, but change is slow. He’s having to make cuts because we’re stone broke and at the same time ensure we have a working health service whilst dealing with unions to try and push through changes – getting the internet in China would be easier
Wouldn’t want that job
Well he doesn’t do it for free
Anyways… He seems to be in the news alot.
He’s had a pretty bad run of it over the last few months. First he appeared in Stubbs gazette for defaulting on a loan (the first Irish minister to do so). He had rows and fall outs with his two Junior Ministers, Rosin Shorthall and Kathleen Lynch. The head of the HSE Cathal McGee resigned and blamed Riley’s interference (he failed to personally inform Lynch or Shorthall of the resignation). Both have said that he is not a good communicator and his ability to manage the Health system has been repeatedly called into question. He’s quite new to politics (first got elected in 2007) and this is his first time in government, his critics argue that he is too inexperienced and naïve for the job.
So is the Department of a Health an absolute mess then.
Well it’s not like third world countries or anything, but it has huge problems, we basically don’t have enough room or staff to deal with the demand, so you end up waiting hours to get seen and have patients lying on trollies in halls, not what you want when you’re sick.
What’s the latest then?
Well Roisn shorthall has resigned and has been replaced by another Labour TD Alex White. Riley is getting lampooned in the media and by opposition parties but the Taoiseach has backed him so he’ll probably weather the storm, but he needs to buck up.
He does look like Fr Fintan Stack alright .
Yeah and also a forgotten member of the Dubliners.
By Brian Moss