Why Simon’s HSE ‘shake-up’ has got me in a spin



He finally admitted  the HSE was “never fit for purpose” and promised that the shake-up of our health services would result in fewer managers overall – however, time will tell if Health Minister Simon Harris’ cunning plan to reform this hugely bloated cumbersome  organisation will succeed. Personally, I doubt it…and here’s why; we’ve already been there and done that.

  Under new plans, over the next two years, taxpayers and service users should see six regional health areas being set up across the country. Sound familiar? Thought so! You see, the HSE, in its current form, was introduced back in 2004 to replace the health boards that were already in operation at the time. So, in a nutshell, it’s not a shake-up, it’s simply a case of the government doing a Marty McFly and going back to the future, only now they’re spinning it as the implementation of Sláintecare.

  For those who’re still a tad confused, the idea is that it’s hoped the ‘new’ structure will showcase a more linked-in local health care system and a far smaller HSE administration to look after the likes of quality and financial assurance and clinical strategies, and so on.  These are principally the current problems the failing framework has typically been facing. Now, from chatting with readers, I know Simon’s spin is generating lots of excitement around the possibility that at last, our government will be providing us, the taxpayers, with a greatly improved community-based health service, but personally I’m sceptical. I want to know what plans he’s put in place, if, in the highly likely scenario, variations in care standards arise across the country. However, on a positive note, (because I want to be fair), I’m glad it’s proposed that local people will be hired based primarily on their medical experience and abilities, and on their competency skillsets to run these regional offices as opposed to  what could be described as the technically deficient suits currently in charge.

  Whatever happens, make no mistake about it folks, this shake-up, which we should see being fed in by 2021, is gonna cost us taxpayers’ big time. This proposed ‘joined-up’ service between the local doctor to the local hospital and to us, the community, is not gonna come cheap and I want to know where Harris will make the cuts and how many patients are going to suffer as a result of his big plans.


Tee-ed off with British pundits who blur our stars’ national identities


Now, I know absolutely nothing whatsoever about golf, other than the fact that players Shane Lowry, (comhghairdeas champ), and Rory McIlroy are both Irish! Did ya get that pundit Gary Lineker and Sky Sports’ commentator Laura Davies? They’re not British, you cheeky pair of gits, they’re both I-r-i-s-h; from the island of I-r-e-l-a-n-d, the country your, ahem, ‘empire’ once tried to airbrush out of the history books!  Yes readers, it really tee-ed me off last weekend when this pair, who should really know better, tried to claim both of these Irish sportsmen as their own.

  In the case of Rory McIlroy, Lineker ignorantly tweeted ‘It’s the British Open and @McIlroyRory is British’. In the case of Offaly native Shane Lowry, as the event was taking place on Irish soil for the first time in 68 years, and, strangely, as the strapline appeared on the screen in front of her eyes, Davies’ rudely stripped our hero of his nationality. Indeed, I’m certain the collective sharp intake of Irish breath was clearly audible across our entire island when the misinformed one announced live on air, “It would be lovely wouldn’t it for the home fans, and for us as well because it’s nice to see a British winner of The Open”.

  Look, here’s the thing Britain. With regard to Rory, we know he’s faced a few questions around his identity during his very illustrious career in the past, but the fact is, he will be representing Ireland, (not Britain) at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. With that in mind, stop bein’ so flippin’ clingy, it’s embarrassing, and stop staking a claim to our home-grown heroes and instead, move on and get a few of your own! 


What is your price-point Paschal?


I listened to Minister for Waffle, sorry Finance Paschal Donohoe’s jibber-jabber regarding his Department’s latest strategy proposals around applying tax on new cars and used imports, the terms of which he’ll need to consider in time for this year’s Budget. Now, while I do know that, from an environmental point of view, certain changes are needed, this whole sudden anti-diesel campaign waged by our government has really got me fuming, especially as I’m one of the suckers who bought a diesel car, paying them €1,200 a year to tax it.

  I mean, if I could afford it, as an eco-friendly citizen, I’d gladly change to an electric vehicle; as I’m sure so would many other concerned readers. In fact, if I lived in a county that had a public transport system like buses, the DART and the LUAS, I’d happily get rid of my car altogether. However, here’s the thing, I’m in Roscommon, and, not only are we lacking the public transport facilities enjoyed by other counties, we’re also devoid of a sufficient supply of electric vehicle charging points.

  So, while Paschal parades his vote-winning initiatives contained in a ‘give and take’ Budget, teasing us with  the €700 million available to him to balance the nation’s books – the clincher being his big plans to overhaul the type of cars we drive – rural motorists like you and me are being overlooked.

  With this is mind, I have the following questions. Why are rural drivers/voters constantly being ignored by our government? How is Paschal going to make electric vehicles more affordable to us, and, if he does, as the infrastructure is not in place to charge them, how does he expect us to drive them? In short…charging points aside, I want to know, what exactly is your price-point Paschal?


Why I won’t be FaceApping!



Living with the consequences of a broken foot hasn’t just left me clinging to two crutches while trying to apply a bit of make-up; it’s also rendered me the perfect contortionist for a job with the Cirque du Soleil.  However, due to my lack of make-up, not only do I not wish to see what I look like in the mirror today, I don’t wish to see what I look like when I’m pushing 90. To that end, I won’t be engaging in the new FaceApp fad everyone’s on about.

  But for those who do, bear in mind that the App, developed and owned by Russian company Wireless Lab, has privacy policies dating back to 2017, meaning they pre-date GDPR, the relevance of which means your biometric data, (including your photos), is covered.

  Now this company has issued a statement saying ‘most’ images uploaded are being removed within 48 hours – but ‘most’ does not mean all! However, if you’re happy with that, knock yourself out and snap away. But remember this, your pic is not just changing on your phone, it’s changing in other places too, and it’s going onto an unknown server. So, if the day ever dawns when you, (who’ve given your images away for free), will want/need them to be returned, the company involved may not be so generous, possibly leading to you paying extortionate amounts in order to retrieve it.