Friday, November 28, 2008

The Government Breaking Dodgy Hairdo

Harney: Did that hairdo cost $400

A hairdo could be at hand to save the Irish Health Service.
Yes indeed, despite clinging on when her party dissolved beneath her; despite passing the buck on every occasion tragic errors were made in diagnosis and people died; despite acknowledging that things are a mess and that the aim is to have a good health service - not now - but in the future; despite being roundly criticised for planning a two tier private and public system which will allow entrepreneurs make money from the illness of Irish citizens; despite planning a new children’s hospital in an area with not one green space and in a location crippled with traffic; despite planning to close St Luke’s Hospital, the only cancer hospital in Dublin with beautiful green spacd around it; despite making such a plan without informing those who have raised millions for St Luke’s thereby allowing them to continue their fundraising not knowing what’s going on; despite planning eight new ‘Centres of Excellence’ without one of them being planned north of a line from Galway to Dublin; despite it all, it’s a hairdo that could undo Health Minister Mary Harney.

Ireland’s State Training Agency - FAS - is already embroiled in scandal.
For reasons that aren’t quite clear to anybody, it’s now former boss, Rody Molloy, seemed to believe that when he flew to see some project at NASA in Florida on which some Irish apprentices are working, he was entitled to a first class ticket which cost about six grand.
No. We are not training astronauts or planning our own space programme. Well, as far as I know we’re not. (Gee. Hadn’t thought that maybe, what with this government, I mean... Nah. Not possible)
This, in turn, he traded in for two business class tickets so that he could bring his wife in comfort.
He had already placed a colleague, who had a multi-million euro advertising budget - on sick leave for months over questions that need to be answered regarding that money.
And, at the end of it all really, he was facing something of a torrid time at a Dail (Parliament) Committee looking into FAS and some of the other, many state agencies.
So he quit. And didn’t turn up.
But one of the things to emerge, not at the committee, but in the media, largely through Senator Shane Ross in the Sunday Independent is that, on one of these Florida junkets - ministers went on five of them - someone got a hairdo for $400 or more.
The hair, it appeared, was done some time in 2005.
And so, when the question of the hairdo was raised in the Dåil, Ms Harney sat there. She way well have been scratching her head.
Fact is, the previous year, it was SHE who had that hairdo. And she knew it. And she kept schtum.
FAS is unravelling. And there is little doubt that it will not be the only state agency exposed in the coming months.
Why nothing ‘til now?
Because hunter and gamekeeper are equal in FAS.
Five trade unionists. Five business representatives on the board.
And they will all, please God, be undone by a hairdo.
And a dodgy one at that.

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