The scandals around the Irish health minister are a constantly shifting landscape at present, with recent news including the resignation of Labour’s junior health minister, Roisin Shortall. Prior to Shortall’s resignation, I had submitted a letter to the Irish Times. Since they declined to publish it, I’m sharing it here:
It is unusual for a minister to come under such sustained attack, on such a wide range of fronts, as the minister for health has over the past several months. His personal judgement, conflicts of interest, and his competence in managing his brief have each been challenged by significant revelations.
Now we learn that sites in the minister’s constituency have mysteriously jumped up the priority list for primary care centers. This at a time of straitened circumstances, when the government claims to be making hard decisions in the national interest.
As a Labour Party member, too often I find myself gritting my teeth at many of the compromises of coalition. The premise of uno voce means that Labour ministers are implementing and defending decisions that often bear the imprimatur of Fine Gael far more clearly than the trace of social justice and intergenerational solidarity. Such, we are told, is the nature of coalition, of compromise. Perhaps so.
Corruption is of a different nature. The stench of personal self-interest, disguised to a greater or lesser extent, echoes through the scandals emanating from the department of health. The minister should resign. The Tanaiste must insist upon it.