Updated: 09/05/18 : 05:59:21
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editorial

Sinn Féin needs to look back at history

By Eugene McGloin
Political Editor

TIME WAS when good men were driven from jobs in the medical and public service fields in Ireland on mere whims.

Known or not to him, but Ryan Tubridy’s grandfather was one such man.

Here in Sligo/Leitrim, it was Sam Holt who was singled out, also in those early years when Irish tyranny replaced Brits tyranny.

Parked Conscience

Both were ‘Shinners;’ it was the essential reason they were targeted and removed from posts in Irish public service.

The cutie-pie Church parked its conscience and decommissioned its doctrines and certainties, however temporary that phase was.

For those and a thousand other reasons I would never, ever support the shameful current campaign against Tony O’Brien in the HSE, pictured.

Captured Finely

Often criticised, Minister Shane Ross captured it finely when he said yesterday he would not be both judge ‘n’ jury on Tony O’Brien. He has his views.

Another Government member Regina Doherty strongly expressed yesterday the merit in retaining the HSE’s head honcho. She has her views.

Tony O’Brien will be needed as external expertise appointed by the Government now moves in to drill down into the HSE on the Cervical Check fiasco.

Newspaper writers such as John Downing in The Irish Independent and Fergus Finlay in The Irish Examiner argued this week against the removal of O’Brien.

Must Follow

Their newspapers might usefully have also quoted the great wisdom of John Healy, dead since 1991 but his words and insights never, ever dead.

Journalist Healy wrote of the most common Irish political phenomenon.

Namely, “There goes the mob, I am it’s leader, therefore I must follow.”

Those dozen words describe everything in the interplay(s) between Jo Soap and public reps. 

Michael Ring is still a wee bit wet behind the ears on bigger issues at the Cabinet table and could/should catch up on Healy’s essential pearls and insights.

Tony O’Brien didn’t make the mess at the HSE; he made an effort to make it work.

He did more good than his critics ever did — quoting Liam Cosgrave famed terse deconstruction of the hurlers on the ditch.....Fine Gaelers included. 

Hardened Hotchpotch

The HSE mess was entirely created by Irish politicians — especially when they removed its accountability in Dáil Éireann.

TDs up and down the country try to raise an HSE issue in the Dáil and they’re told that HSE will (privately) write them in the matter.

The setting up of HSE removed democratic accountability. Health ministers such as Meehawl Martin and Mary Harney hardened that hotchpotch.

For all and any faults, the North West Health Board was one thousand times more accountable than the HSE. Over forty years I dealt extensively with both.

Soft Target

Sinn Fein should learn from it’s own history and stymie the witch hunt on a public servant who is a very soft target.

On the specific issue of Cervical Check, there are more pertinent targets Sinn Féin and its new leader need to pursue. 

Identifying those correctly will be a test of them going forward every bit as much as a test of the HSE, looking back.