The CEO of the Health Service Executive Prof Brendan Drumm earns an annual salary of €370,000. In addition he is now to receive a performance related bonus of €70,000 for 2007. Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.
Quite frankly a salary of €370,000 is more than sufficient for the position occupied by Mr Drumm. Under no circumstances should any bonus be paid to Mr Drumm or other executives of the HSE. According to FG health spokesman Dr James Reilly 300 patients were lying on trolleys around the country yesterday. 9,000 operations have been cancelled in the first six months of the year. The same HSE has sought to attack the pay of nurses, midwives and other frontline staff. The HSE is at present making plans to reduce spending by up to €1.2bn next year. Yet there is no difficulty finding an extra €70,000 for Mr Drumm.
This bonus payment is indicative of a serious divide in Irish society between the well off and the lower paid. There is a culture of greed and entitlement amongst many in the upper echelons of Irish society. Apparently self-sacrifices are only for the plebs. There is a strong perception that the higher paid wish to place the burden for the economic readjustment on the shoulders of those who benefited least from the economic boom. Spokespersons for the well off have not been slow to articulate the case for further pay and social welfare cuts. With 430,000 unemployed and negative equity an ever increasing prospect for up to 100,000 home owners civil unrest cannot be ruled out if decisions such as this are not reversed.
Health Minister Ms Harney hired Brendan Drumm to run the HSE. It is incumbent upon her to call in Mr Drumm immediately and to seek a reversal of this decision.There is a waiting list of 350 in Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin with people left queueing for a first appointment. The number of heart rending stories would draw a tear from a stone. The hospital authorities are strapped for cash and must resort to major fund raising activities annually. The award of a bonus to Mr Drumm is a slap in the face for sick children and their parents. Mr Drumm should immediately donate the €70,000 bonus to the hospital