Eoghan Harris is no mean exponent of the pen. Unfortunately his political analysis leaves much to be desired. In his Sunday Independent column he is prepared to defend the indefensible if necessary as he strives to promote the Governments record on Health. He is rapidly developing into a political apologist for the FF/PD Government. Come back Pravda. All is forgiven.
In the Irish context he states that Mary Hanafin, Beverly Flynn and Mary Harney are courageous politicians. Interestingly all three are from the FF gene pool. He mentions Hillary Clinton. Obviously Harris knows very little about "Hillarycare." In the words of Mitt Romney: "She hasn't run a corner store. She hasn't run a state. She hasn't run a city. She has never run anything."
He then denigrates Dr James Reilly (FG). He conveniently omits to state that FG health spokesman, Dr James Reilly put down the question -at the Oireachtas Health Committee meeting- which elicited the response that 97 women who had breast ultrasounds at Portlaoise Hospital were to be recalled for surgical review. Harris should listen to James Reilly. He might actually learn something about the reality of life for women suffering from breast cancer.
He raises the issue of bi-partisanship on the health issue. The Government has a 13 seat majority(including Ned O Keeffe). Is this not sufficient to reform the Health Service? No Harris is concerned to protect the Government from flak ensuing from unpopular decisions in the Health Service. The Harris motto is: Tie in the opposition parties and insulate the Government.
There is now a strong opposition. It is the duty of the opposition to ask the hard questions. This is a sine qua non if our democracy is to flourish.
The last FF /PD Government -with Mary Harney as Minister for Health-established the HSE. It is a bureaucratic monster that is gobbling up valuable financial resources but cutting back on front line services. In the words of Harris : " Harney is fighting the good fight". Unfortunately this is of little benefit to seriously ill patients. Eoghan Harris needs to wake up and smell the coffee.