In Ireland, secrecy is always the knee-jerk response to scandal

Consultant obstedrician Peter Boylan does not believe there should be a public inquiry in the Savita Halapanavar case. He give two reasons:

Mr. Halapanavar is grieving for his wife and expected child, so he’s in a state of grief at the moment and that needs to be taken into account when assessing his response.

I dont think Mr. Halapanavar would agree with this patronising view.

If it’s a public inquiry it will descend into a bit of a circus because there will be misinterpretations of the evidence given which will be bandied about in the media.

Secrecy is always the knee-jerk response to scandal in Ireland.

In functional democracies like the United Kingdom public inquiries are the norm.

This is becasue functional democracies have checks and balances built into their systems. They have in place authorities that have the power to act independently of political power.

The Leveson Inquiry has just produced an excellent report within a few months and cost a mere £7 million.

British citizens from practically every level of society from ordinary joe soaps, to journalists, to movie stars right up to the Prime Minister himself were questioned in public, under oath.

The sky did not fall in and British citizens are likely to see some swift and real reform as a result.

In Ireland, there is no law enforcement authority with the power to act independently of the corrupt political system.

This fact lies at the core of every scandal in Ireland.

It’s the principal reason why people of power and influence are never held to account.

Susie Long is remembered

Great to see Susie Long being appropriately remembered.

In one of her final interviews she was asked by Miriam O’Callaghan.

If you had one message for the Irish health service and those who run it what might it be?

The health service should be for everyone equally, and that’s it. Everyone is entitled to a good health service; it shouldn’t depend on where you live or how much money you have in your back pocket. The health service is paid for by our tax money and so therefore we’re entitled to every service available that we need.

Please Mr. Halapanavar, respect our tradition of cover-up and political cowardice

The Taoiseach’s appeal to Praveen Halapanavar to meet with the chairman of the inquiry team can be translated as follows:

Please Mr. Halapanavar, please go along with the way we do things in Ireland. We don’t know how to do public inquiries, we’ve never done them.

Please do this for me Mr. Halapanavar. I promise you will receive justice, if it doesn’t threaten my career or the career of my colleagues. If it doesn’t expose our corrupt body politic and if the HSE can be brought under control.

Please respect our long established tradition of cover-up, secrecy and political cowardice.

Fine Gael politicians take to the cowardice bunker

Cover-up, denial, delay, secrecy, missing/destroyed files and moving blame.

These are the usual strategies employed by Irish authorities in response to state scandal.

Every one of them has been used in the last week in a desperate attempt by state authorites to avoid acting on or taking responsibility for the Halapanavar tragedy scandal.

None of them have worked so we’ve seen a strategy that is rarely necessary – public cowardice by elected representatives.

No Fine Gael politicians has been available in the last few days as each and every one of them took to the cowardice bunker.

And in a perverse way, who can blame them.

This scandal is different from all previous scandals because in this case the world is looking on as our corrupt political/administrative system struggles to cover-up the scandal while trying to maintain the fiction that Ireland is a functional democracy.

The first strategy to fail was the attempt to pack the original investigation team with consultants from Galway hospital.

If this was not an international incident those consultants would still be on that team, beavering away in secret to ‘resolve the problem’.

It has been said, and I have little reason to disagree, that these people are of the highest integrity.

I say ‘little reason’ because they did, after all, agree to participate in what the rest of the world clearly saw as an attempt to influence the outcome of the investigation in the state’s favour.

If these people are so wonderful they should have immediately recognised the implications of the situation and rejected the invitation to participate.

If this was not an international incident the people of Ireland would have been told by the ruling elite to take a run and jump if they objected to the form of the investigation team.

The HSE/State once again refuses to take responsibility

Cover up, denial, secrecy, bureaucracy, non-accountability, endangering life, corporate arrogance, corporate ruthlessness, political weakness, political cowardice.

This is the first paragraph of a piece I posted in May 2007 regarding the disgraceful treatment of Rebecca O’Malley by the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Mrs. O’Malley was told that a lump on her breast was benign but it turned out to be malignant.

The error cost her 14 months in wasted time. She had to have a mastectomy that probably would not have been necessary if that time had not been wasted.

It turned out that 300 other women had also been misdiagnosed but the HSE had decided not to inform them thus putting their lives in danger.

When Mrs. O’Malley expressed concern she was urged by the HSE not to go public.

She agreed on condition that an independent investigation be initiated. The HSE were lying, nothing was done.

The failure of the HSE to act forced Mrs. O’Malley to assume responsibility for the endangered women. She successfully forced the HSE to act by going public.

Five years on Praveen Halapanavar, husband of Savita Halapanavar, was asked why he had gone public after his wife died.

Because there was nothing happening after two weeks.

Mr. Halapanavar has assumed responsibility for dealing with this disgraceful scandal because the Irish State has effectively refused to do so.

Nobody in charge, nobody accountable. Same old story

A report into the circumstances that led to the failed transportation of a Co Leitrim girl for a liver transplant to London in July has concluded no one person or agency was in charge of organising arrangements and the system was not reliable.

So, nothing new here.

Nobody was in charge therefore nobody is responsible therefore nobody is accountable.

Standby for the usual apologies and assurances that this will never happen again blah, blah blah…

The usual bullshit from the HSE

There was an item on Morning Ireland discussing the serious neglect of children because of a lack of resources.

During the discussion Catherine Chent, a solicitor specializing in children’s rights told us that the HSE buys in an incredible amount of private services, sometimes at twice the cost as that paid in England.

I wonder who benefits from this strategy.

As usual, there was no representative from the HSE but this out of control organization did deign to provide a ‘statement’ (Number three) on the matter.

The HSE is developing a changed strategy over the next three years with high level goals.

I can just imagine the scene in the relevant office when the RTE request for a spokesperson arrived.

John, I think it’s your turn to talk bullshit to the nation.

It is not George, I was on last week and anyway, I’m checking out holiday destinations on the internet.

Ok, look, why don’t we just issue a statement.

Great idea, but which one?

Well, number two, five and seven have all being used recently. Let’s see, what about number three?

Yeah, whatever.

I was thinking of Bermuda this year George, what do you think?

Ireland: Still wallowing in the doldrums of delusion

Health Minister Dr. James Reilly said that the HSE document proposing possible cuts in waiting lists for pregnant women and a cap on vaccination programmes were nothing more than the internal reflections of someone within the HSE.

Asked about the possible closure of smaller hospitals he said:

The reality is that small hospitals have an enormous part to play in the delivery of care for our citizens and they will be supported by this government.

Here’s some of what happened in Latvia as a result of the IMF rescue in 2008/2009.

Half of all hospitals were closed.

There was a 30% cut in public service wages and thousands of public servants were sacked.

Over half of all state agencies were closed over a very short period of time.

This, and worse, is going to happen in Ireland and yet those in power continue to behave as if there’s an alternative, as if they still have the power to make choices.

Latvia, like Iceland, is on the road to recovery. Ireland is still wallowing in the doldrums of delusion.

A hint of regulation?

In response to the latest health abuse scandal the Minister for Health, Dr. James Reilly, has told the Health Information and Quality Authority that it will have to consider actually regulating instead of relying on whistleblowers to uncover abuse.

Ok, it’s nothing more than a suggestion but none the less it is indeed historic that an Irish politician is even hinting that an Irish ‘regulator’ should actually regulate.

Changing times indeed.

Living/Dying in a Third World country

Letter in today’s Irish Independent.

CF sufferers’ hope is fading fast

It has been revealed that the tender process for the long-awaited cystic fibrosis (CF) unit is not working, as the lowest tender failed to get the required finance in time.

The unique tender process, under which the company needs to finance the build and get paid on completion, was given to us as a solution when we campaigned to the Government last year. It is now more obvious than ever that this was a ploy to keep us quiet.

We are tired of writing letters to newspapers and TDs. We are tired of giving out. We are tired of being optimistic. It is unfair to expect us to fight again for more broken promises.

The awareness of the plight of people with CF is at an all-time high. Everyone knows the risks of us picking up potentially fatal infections on admission to shared wards; that our next hospital visit could be our last.

What we are asking for is standard in every other first-world country. We are not looking for gold-plated oxygen tanks!

Our hope is fading and we are asking for your help once again. I don’t want this fight to end when we are eventually silenced by picking up an infection in a sub-standard facility of “care”.

What more can we all say?

Maria Daly
Person with CF,
Carlow Person of the Year — Courage Award 2010,
Marino, Dublin 3

What we are asking for is standard in every other first-world country.

Unfortunately for Maria and all CF sufferers, they are living in a dangerously corrupt Third World country.

Two previous blogs on this disgraceful situation.

“I have absolutely no faith in the HSE or in Mary Harney” Bernadette Cooney, recently deceased. RIP

Broken promises