We witnessed a good example of Irish political stupidity on last Monday’s Primetime special on RTE 1. Junior Health Minister Tim O’Malley was being interviewed about the lack of psychiatric care for children.
Here’s some brief background; there are only 13 psychiatric beds for children in Ireland. Norway, with a similar population has 30 times as many. Many reports have been commissioned and allowed gather dust over the last 40 years. After each report politicians promise that action will be taken and then break their promise by doing nothing.
There are now more than 3,000 children on a waiting list just to get their first psychiatric assessment, never mind actual treatment. As a result of this political incompetence and neglect, thousands of children and their families are condemned to endless suffering.
This situation is not unique. Incompetence, neglect and corruption are rampant at practically every level of Irish society and in particular within the public and civil service.
O’Malley, however, plumbed to new depths of ineptitude when he couldn’t even lie effectively. When he was challenged about the disgraceful waiting lists he blamed the doctors.
He claimed that they deliberately ensure that waiting lists reach into the hundreds because it makes them feel very powerful. There could be no misunderstanding of what O’Malley was saying and what he meant.
Naturally, there was anger and outrage within the medical community, so you would think that even someone as stupid as O’Malley would accept that he was wrong to make such allegations and apologise. Not our Tim, his silly explanation added insult to injury.
“I regret if a couple of sentences, taken from a lengthy interview, gave an impression that I was of any different opinion,”
Fine Gael’s Dr Liam Twomey described O’Malley as a stupid, ignorant, arrogant fool.
That’s just about right.