Monday, October 28, 2013


So Minister of Health, Dr. James Reilly has finally decided to meet Mr Praveen Halappanavar. It has taken almost twelve months for this Government Minister; this man; this man of medicine; this man of healing, to condescend, finally, to meet a man, who lost his wife, Savita in the most tragic and unnecessary circumstances, whilst in the care of medical staff in Galway University Hospital on 28th October 2012. Without getting into the 'ins' and 'outs' of this much publicized case, Mr Halappanavar knows how his wife died; he now needs to know why his wife died. This is a meeting that Mr Halappanavar sought almost 12 months ago, and I hope for his sake that it helps to answer some of the questions that have been chipping away at his heart and his brain since his wife's death.

Events and vigils have been organized throughout Ireland today to mark the lst anniversary of 31year old Savita's death. This woman, who was 17 weeks pregnant and looking forward to becoming a mother for the first time, went into hospital because of a threatened miscarriage and sadly never came out. Savita requested an abortion after spending three days in agonizing pain and with the knowledge that her unborn child could not possibly survive. She was refused that abortion on the grounds that the unborn child was still breathing. Ms Halappanvar's needless death rocked this nation to its very core and rightly so.

Who would want Dr.Reilly's job? There is no doubt that the portfolio of Minister for Health is the most complicated, emotionally-charged and costly of all to maintain and I would have a certain amount of sympathy for anyone holding that position. When Dr Reilly was appointed to that Government ministry, perhaps naively, I imagined he would bring that extra ingredient of empathy with him, that had been lacking with previous Health Ministers. Dr. Reilly's capabilities have been called into question time and time again during the lifetime of this Government, and I suppose, given the present financial climate, that was to be expected. What wasn't expected and completely unacceptable is, that it has taken almost twelve months for Dr. Reilly, our Minister of Health to agree to meet Praveen Halappanavar. 

And why now? A cynical attempt to rebuild a crumbling credibility? You don't need to be Dr Einstein, Madame Curie, or Louis Pasteur to know that medical knowledge and expertise without empathy for the patient and their loved ones is not only unacceptable, but quite often less effective. This should also apply to the governing of this State, the running of business, the pastoring of the Church, the administering of social welfare payments, and should ideally infiltrate all forms of social inter-action.

I am not saying that Dr. Reilly is not a competent doctor, but as the Minister for Health and also a medical professional, he failed Praveen Halappanavar and the rest of us, in his refusal to meet with Mr Halappanavar following repeated requests to do so. Dr. Reilly was not to blame for Savita's death, neither could he her bring back, but a simple meeting one year ago, would have at least suggested a modicum of empathy towards Mr. Halappanavar and indeed, the rest of us on this island; trudging and stumbling through one of the greatest recessions since the formation of the State. It would have shown both him and us, that we the people matter more than rhetoric, reputation, and money. Surely, even from a cynical perspective, it was a missed opportunity.

Well....Dr. Reilly, you have lost my sympathy vote. Too little...too late ...too circumspect....and leaning more towards hypocritical than hippocratic! 

Ciao for now!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


How could anybody trust Enda Kenny's motives for wanting to abolish the Seanad, when he flatly refused to take part in any TV or radio debate about Friday's referendum. To start with, he came up with this referendum motion without consulting any of his frontbenchers including Richard Bruton who has been doing all  Enda's dirty debating work for him. If Enda Kenny felt in any way passionate about abolishing the Seanad, he SHOULD HAVE BEEN on our TV screens during both debates chaired by Miriam O'Callaghan and Vincent Browne; fighting his corner and for what he believes in. Any idiot can pose for a photo, milking a cow, at the National Ploughing Championship !!! You certainly don't need to be an orator or statesman. What the people of this country need to see right now are politicians who speak and act with passionate conviction. I am sick and tired of the safe, so-called logical and rational political rhetoric; the dodgy hedging of issues; and political posturing. Politics is not a game. It is a vocation, or at least, it should be.

The people of this country should have been given a real choice in this referendum. The motion set out in this referendum fails to do that. If the motion was about reforming the Seanad, which can be done under the present constitution, there is no doubt in my mind, that the people of this country would say that they want to hold onto the Seanad, but let it be reformed. If a NO vote wins the day and I passionately believe it should be a NO VOTE, because I don't believe Mr Kenny wants to reform anything and that it's all pretence and gimmicks, Mr Kenny has already gone on record and said that the Seanad will NOT BE REFORMED even if the people of this island return a NO VOTE in Friday's referendum.. What he is actually saying is that he is not willing to listen to the people of this country! How dare he? All I can say to that then is; there is nothing to separate Enda Kenny from Napoleon or the now-disgraced former Taoiseach Mr Brian Cowen, who told the Dail that he didn't have to answer to anyone on the very same night that Tiger Woods broadcast a needless and rather pathetic apology to the world for his sexual infidelities! (I'm pretty damn sure the only people concerned about Tigers' indiscretions were Nike and Mrs Woods.) Quite frankly, any political leader who says he/she is not accountable for his/her actions to the very people who have entrusted them with the most important job on this island or any other jurisdiction, is taking upon themselves, the mantel of a tyrant.

Enda Kenny knows how disillusioned the majority of people are with the present Government and to detract from the austerity of the forthcoming budget; and with one fearful eye on his seat in the next general election; he wants to be able to say, 'There you go 'plebs' we've made political reforms as laid out in our manifesto and saved 20 million into the bargain!' What a load of bollocks!  No one is saying that the Seanad does not need to be reformed, and so what if, as some politicians have said rather disdainfully that the Seanad serves as a creche to budding politicians and a graveyard for ex-TD's and ministers. Is that not a good thing? People have to learn their trade somehere; and if ex TD's performed diligently, honestly and with conviction during their time in the Dail, would they not be an asset to any political chamber.

If Mr Kenny was serious about political reform and transparency, he would have allowed his own party members to vote according to their conscience on the abortion issue. Such hypocrisy. I'm afraid Mr Kenny has behaved like a bully and a dictator within his own party and within the Dail. 52 bills have been rushed through government with very little or without any debate at all....'guillotined'; since taking up his tenure as Taoiseach. This does not reflect an open and transparent form of government.

Whilst canvassing for a NO VOTE last Monday, I was surprised to find that some people are so confused by the way this motion has been set out, that they are not going to vote at all. How sad is that. The electorate of this country are already apathetic about politics, as a direct result of widespread political corruption. The seeds of corruption, which were sown and most definitely rooted during the days of former Taoiseach, Charlie Haughey, have been allowed to flourish throughout consecutive governments since, and have now become almost an acceptable part of the the political establishment. This Government, who have promised transparency in the management of political business, have done precious little to encourage the people of this country to exercise their vote, during this referendum or the last very important Children's referendum. The debate and informative literature around the Children's referendum was so confusing, that less than 30% of an ill-informed electorate turned out to vote. Enda Kenny and his band of men have deliberately set out to confuse and manipulate the electorate on both occasions, which is both undemocratic and unforgivable.

If you are undecided about which way you are going to vote, click onto the link below and watch David Norris, who is a wonderful orator and a true statesman in full flight. This is one of the most inspiring speeches I have ever watched or heard. We need much more of this kind of heartfelt conviction in Irish politics. During both TV debates, Richard Bruton made a rather smirking reference to a 'Professor of Poetry' in the Seanad and questioned his ability to debate issues outside his experience. These assumptions are not only denigrating, they are disingenous. Does Richard Bruton expect us to believe that every TD, who takes up the portfolio of a ministerial position is an expert in that given field. I don't think so. The amount of advisers and hangers-on, that are brought in, blasts a huge hole in that argument. Take that a step further. Why give the electorate a vote at all. After all, most of the electorate are not expert in how financial or legal systems operate.

I shall be voting a resounding NO on Friday. My primary concern, however, is that people go out and VOTE. Do not allow this Government to bully you into NOT VOTING at all.

In conclusion, one of the greatest women that has ever emerged from this country or any other country for that matter: Mary Robinson, a  past President of this beloved country and UN Human Rights Ambassador believes we should hold on to our Seanad, and quite frankly, that should be enough on its own, to make every right-thinking person get out and vote NO on Friday.

Ciao for now!