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The State of the Nation...

The past week has been an eventful one in our little nation. We've witnessed Roy Keane complaining about the conduct of the Irish fans post what could have been perceived as humiliating defeats, a report released on the treatment of children by the HSE for the last decade and we've even had a report to cut numbers in the Dail paraded in front of us. This weeks events have got me thinking about the current state of our nation and how our people react and act when presented with certain situations.

First of all, may I point out being a Cork man doesn't automatically qualify you to be a Roy Keane fan, I have never been one to be honest. However, I could see both sides of the argument in the latest controversy. I think what Roy said was silly, yet totally misrepresented by the media. What I mean by that is there was a certain logic to what he was saying, just might have been better received if it wasn't said in such a, well, Roy kind of way. On the other hand when I was viewing that game v Spain and the fans descended into full voice, I got quite emotional. Here we were, slaughtered by the Spanish yet still singing. It was quite astounding. I do believe there was pent up frustration with more domestic and economic issues shining through also and I believe that's why Roy must be the only Irish person I have heard of that did not get emotional when watching that awesome display from our fans. Fact is if Roy lived in Ireland and was experiencing the hardship he has no doubt been graced with avoiding given his past pay grade, he may have had a deeper understanding of the situation and what it meant to people. The whole saga made me proud to be Irish. We showed the world we are a mature, proud and emotional nation, three traits that many nations lack individually, never mind combined.

Then, just yesterday saw the publishing of a report on the deaths that occurred between 2000 - 2010 of children that were in HSE care. There are no words that could sum up the contents of the report other than horrific and deeply worrying. Last night my mother and I gazed at the Vincent Browne show in horror as details were revealed, parents interviewed and discussion partaken in. Personally the most worrying aspect was my own mother, a retired mental health nurse, concluding that she sadly, was not surprised by the revelations. The report shows a systemic failure on many fronts. One must ask are these failures happening because of personnel issues, competence issues or system issues or perhaps a combination of these factors? Knowing some family who work in such areas I have no doubt that there are very competent people working within the system, however, I have no doubt there are deeply incompetent people also. I don't think a person in the land thinks the HSE and it's relevant departments and systems are even within sight of competence. This brings me to what I believe to be the only way to prevent such large scale tragedies ever happening again. Scrap Croke Park right away. When are the upper echelons of the public service and unions going to understand that the public service exists to serve the public. This is yet another report showing gross failures and while we all hear the groans of regret and promises for reform, it's simply impossible to contemplate large scale reform in the straight jacket the cronies in the unions have put our government in. How can we continue to justify and protect a system that allows a Health Executive retain 2000 hr staff, whilst continuing to contribute to an increase in likelihood of death for our young and old people due to lack of resources and staff at the front line. When did the health service become more about documents, admin staff and bureaucracy than about the protection and health of the nation and her children.

I know regular readers of my blog quite correctly would note that I seem to rant alot in my blogs. I do so with the best of intentions. There are so many things that make me proud to be a citizen of this great nation. I would not swap being Irish for all the wealth in the world. But it is because of this very fact that I get so angry. Vested interests, incompetent individuals and corrupt systems continue to destroy lives of my fellow countrymen. Just today we are told of the "vast political reform" that is taking place because of a proposal to drop 8 TD's from the Dail and to have some boundary shifts. This is not reform, it's a red herring. Politicians continue to play gombeen politics with our nation, all show and no substance. While our children are neglected, our old and sick are left on trollies in corridors and our economic future is plundered by German authoritarians and global bond holders, we're expected to rejoice in the wake of a release of a proposal to shed 5% frontline staff in the Dail? I would beg all politicians to stop play acting with such irrelevances and bring about real reform, starting with a line through Croke Park. Lead us on a step towards accountability for every public servant of the land, from the Taoiseach of the day to a clerical officer in the local council. That is reform, that is real change. Then and only then will people start to respect the body politic and have faith in our public services. Not alone do our citizens deserve it, but our public servants deserve it, they deserve to be rewarded for all the good and sometimes dangerous work they do for no thanks, as much as the incompetents and redundant roles deserve to be punished. Such a damning report would never have been published yesterday if our public service worked in such a way, because such tragedies would never have happened, or at least on such an enormous scale, of that I guarantee! I can only conclude to observe that we are a proud nation, a mature people, a nation who laughs in the face of adversity, but do we do that when it really matters? Will we react so passionately to the foul treatment of our most vulnerable, as we did so vehemently to our soccer team? Only time will tell!

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