Thursday, March 10, 2005

Banana Republic

The Travers Report is causing quite the brouhaha, isn't it? Vincent Browne was showing his usual calm and restraint in yesterday's Irish Times, when he claimed that the State's taking of pensions from persons in nursing homes was the biggest instance of theft in Ireland since the Plantation of Ulster. Pat Rabbitte, with his usual calm and restraint, claims in today's Irish Times that "if it was any other jurisdiction in the western world, Mr Martin would have resigned by now."

Good thinking, Pat. The system of claiming pensions in lieu of payment for nursing home fees has been in place since 1976, making it the responsibility of at least ten and perhaps even fifteen Ministers for Health, and Pat decides to pick Mícheál Martin out of the field? It's hardly the case of Mr Rabbitte putting political opportunism before the good of the State - if he were to be opportunistic about it, surely Mr Rabbitte would turn his guns on his party colleague Mr Howlin - after all, it's not like Mr Howlin doesn't have his guns turned on Mr Rabbitte.

I also read that the Government is facing a two billion Euro bill for compensation for this "greatest theft since the Plantation of Ulster." An excessive amount, surely? If you were in a nursing home in 1976 you surely walk the Elysian Fields now, where neither Earthly care nor Earthy compo can disturb your rest.

Of course, if our public representitives, elected to serve the State, were really concerned about about this twenty-nine protracted robbery that no-one ever noticed, surely root and branch civil service restructuring is their first port of call? The evidence for waste and outright stupidity in the Civil Service is anecdotal but overwhelming - surely a good, hearty culling and starting again is called for? Unfortunately, as in most under-developed states, there are such a tranche of people employed in the Civil Service that they are more than able to revenge themselves on the man that would cut their jobs by cutting his damned job at the polling station next time out. You'd also have a huge crew of people on the dole whose chances of competing, after twenty years' institutionalisation in Civil Service best practice, with some computer whizz kids in India or China are slim at the very best.

An Spailpín doesn't see anyway to turn, and he is not looking forward as a taxpayer to footing a two billion Euro claim to compensate some hoor for the suffering of an uncle whom same hoor probably didn't even go and visit. There is only one solution for the right-thinking man or woman - book this flight to Ghana and start again. May God have mercy on us all.