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Health Minister fired board chairman ‘for looking into an empty field’

THERE is a fundamental contradiction between what the Taoiseach said at Bodenstown (October 17) about “not stifling debate” and his kneejerk approval of Health Minister Mary Harney’s ‘una duce, una voce’, bully-girl policy on the proposed National Children’s Hospital.

We may never know what has been going on behind the scenes, (and particularly at development board level) in what Gay Byrne has called “a turkey” and the distinguished paediatrician, Roisin Healy, describes as “a pup” — and your own Matt Cooper simply calls “crazy”.

However, Minister Harney appointed as chair to that board a very competent, conscientious, hard-headed businessman, Philip Lynch, to steer the construction through to its fruition. Sadly for her purposes, she chose the wrong man. After three years, Mr Lynch has come to the conclusion, in his words, that if the five issues he lists in a very carefully drafted statement are not addressed, “the successful delivery of the new hospital, wherever it is located, is at serious risk”.

In other words, the Mater site is not the only problem. Maybe not even the most serious one.

It is his view — clearly — that the entire package of implementation proposals is deeply flawed and will not deliver — or, by implication, deliver a monster.

Most of us who have been unhappy about these proposals actually want the rationalisation and enhancement of children’s hospital healthcare but believe this package will not do it and may even leave children in a situation worse than the current one — for a generation.

Minister Harney’s response is to boast, blandly, that she sacked Mr Lynch, that his version does not tally with the facts (her ‘facts’ at any rate) and that ! she dismissed him essentially because he dared to look at an empty field.

There is a national consensus that this Government of poltroons, bullies and worse must go.

Let the people get at the problem together as soon as possible.

Maurice O’Connell



Co Kerry


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