Chocolate row comments belittle nurses

Liam Doran
Liam Doran

IT was hard to tell which infuriated INMO leader Liam Doran the most — the suggestion by Dr Kevin Kelleher, assistant national director of the HSE’s Health Protection unit, that nurses be given chocolates to entice them to take up the flu vaccine or RTÉ’s Sean O’Rourke’s opening question when interviewing him: “Well, Liam, Roses or Milk Tray?”

The joke fell as flat as a Curly Wurly. Doran did not see the funny side, launching into a tirade against Kelleher and accusing him of being patronising and condescending and of treating nurses like children.

Kelleher’s words to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health were insensitive, to say the least — redolant of the bottom-pinching days of the 1960s or a scene from Mad Men on Netflix. “Incentives work, ranging from giving them chocolates; chocolates work very well,” he told TDs and senators. “Draws for iPads work very well in improving the uptake.”

Perhaps if Dr Kelleher had offered Mr Doran his last Rolo or — given the recent warm weather — a cool and creamy 99, he might have broken the ice.


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