AFTER a weekend when it was reported that we, through the European Union, will spend €58m over five years to confer EU official language status on Irish, it is very difficult to be certain that we have balanced our priorities in a sensible, moral way, one that reflects the reality and challenges of our world.
Indeed, that single issue, and many, many, more like it, define today’s constant battle about which activities, which needs, should be supported by state intervention — and those which might be left to their own fate. Even those who aspire to cradle-to-the-grave health and social supports may baulk at some cultural subventions. Yet. those who imagine that Irish is still a heartbeat rather than a beautiful candle flickering in the wind will insist on it.
Against that background, the challenging facing Health Minister Simon Harris, rural Ireland and especially doctors based in rural Ireland seems much more pressing.
Sustaining rural practices and rural medical supports is ever more challenging and may be, literally, a life or death issue. Mr Harris is to address this and try to convince more GPs to work in rural Ireland by putting a new arrangement in place. Doctors are to be offered salaried, State positions to work in communities that may not be able to support a full-time medical practice. This template may be used in some urban areas as well. A practical option for a real problem.
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