Updated: 05/01/17 : 07:13:25
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Beauty pageant of two failed health honchos

By Eugene McGloin
Political Editor

SIMPLE TEASER: Name the most recent ex Minister for Health to become a party leader and win an election. 

It was instructive to peep in on RTE's Six One News yesterday evening, Wednesday.

It featured a parade of has-beens who've all tried their hand in Health in the HSE era, and failed miserably.

Dented Credibility

MIchael Martin -- Ha. Ha. Mary Harney -- Hee Haw. James Reilly -- Ho Ho Ho. Leo Vradakar -- Ho Hum.

Those four and others have not so much tried their hand as tried our patience.

In the process all of them -- WITHOUT exception -- dented their credibility through promises made re hospital waiting lists.

Their hollow records recall the words of the late, great John Healy every time he heard a politician promise to drain the Shannon, finally.

Healy said 'if such politicians could suck half as hard as they 'blow' they would have the whole drainage job done in jig-time.

Which is why I have NEVER believed a word politicians of any hue say on trolleys and waiting lists.

Simon Harris, pictured, chipped in yesterday when he (wisely) should have kept his gob shut.

Stay Away

His advice was for older patients with flu to stay away from hospital A & E departments.

Really? The primary relationship is between patients and their GPS and community careers.

No politician, Simon Harris included, has ANY role in that relationship. Did nobody tell him? Did he not even guess.

Harris showed himself profoundly out of of his depth...as before him was Martin, Harney, Reilly, Varadkar, Uncle Tom Cobley.

Beauty Contest

Brian Cowen wisely labelled Health as "Angola," such was the number of landmines within that Cabinet portfolio. 

Meanwhile, it would be hideous if the next general election here boiled down to a 'beauty contest' between the mugshots of Martin and Varadkar.

The Shinners have made it easier on them all by staying in its Rip Van Winkle mode in the Republic in these opening days of 2017.

You might have expected that the party which sees itself as the largest in opposition might have put down a 'No Confidence' Motion on Harris' handling of health.

But no, they are busy pursuing a similar Motion in Stormont which is 100% guaranteed to fail.

That Motion is also 100% guaranteed to retrench (new) Ireland back into the tribal trenches, if it triggers an early election.

We face no such election in the south, where the real crisis continues towards its second decade.