Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy. ~Ernest Benn

Recent Articles

How to Make Further Misery for Children with Cancer

How to Make Further Misery for Children with Cancer Chicago’s ‘Irish American News’, July 2018.   I have a story to tell.  And because it is about a children’s cancer charity that is very dear to my heart, it’s not a good story.  Nor do I think that my tale will have a happy ending. It is a story that is only one of many chapters in the ongoing and very strange Saga of Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE). Somewhere along the way the HSE lost its way, you see:  it became not something that helped people, but instead went very consciously out of its way to hinder and harass them; badger and obstruct them; frustrate them and add to whatever miseries they were suffering through. But even by the HSE’s standards – standards that are now so low that you would have to turn over a rock in the ground in order to find them crawling, bewildered and blinking, into the light – this is a pretty low one. This chapter is called: TAKING AWAY FROM CHILDREN WHO HAVE CANCER. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin. In 2008 the HSE made a firm, written commitment to help the children’s cancer charity ‘Hand in Hand’ to the tune of €450,000. Now, that’s a very pleasant, melodious tune.  And for a small charity that has its back perpetually to the wall, it was sweet to the ear to learn that they would have a little bit of extra monetary resources to help the kids and families that they care about. €300,000 had come from the closure of another charity which recognised the enormously important work that ‘Hand in Hand’ does.  The remainder was to come from the HSE in what I can only guess had been a sudden rush of... Full Article →

Pain, Confusion, Betrayal…and the HSE

Pain, Confusion, Betrayal… and the HSE   Chicago’s Irish American News, June, 2018.         “Hi Leo.  Today is the eighth of May.  It’s my sons’ confirmation, Seamus and Mario.  “I’m just back getting changed, ready for the party.  But, while I’m putting on a brave face for my children, I’m terrified what my results are going to be tomorrow.  And the fact that two of my children are making their confirmation today… I’m extremely disappointed in how you’re handling this whole affair. “As Taoiseach you are responsible for everyone in this country, to make sure they are safe at night time.  And I wasn’t safe at night time. “Women have died. “Women will die. “…You need to go. Because if you’re not prepared to turn around and say two words to the people involved here — i.e ‘You’re fired’ — then you’re not capable, or trustworthy to actually run this country. “You have one week to start digging out who’s responsible for this scandal.  And you need to tell people they need to come forward if they have the information. “Because if you do not take control of this situation I guarantee you I will help — single handedly if I need to — to upturn your Government.  If I need to go to the UN and ask them to get involved to find out who is responsible for this, I will. “I don’t care if you send me a cheque for five million Euros; I will not let this rest.  The last thing I need to interfere with my children is this unacceptable behaviour coming from the Government. “The Government are employed by the general public, and they can be fired by the general public.” The pain; the confusion; the sense of betrayal; the anger.  All... Full Article →

Blowing Earth’s Dust Away…

Blowing Earth’s Dust Away…   Chicago’s Irish American News, May 2018.   I never wanted to have children.  I came to that decision back in my twenties;  and it was about the most sensible one I ever made, in a lifetime of doing things that weren’t all that sane at all. I’m too  selfish, for one thing; enjoy living alone, for another. An ex-wife and several ex-partners will probably attest to that. And so, take it to its logical conclusion: I’m not someone who should have had children.  So I didn’t wander down that road.  And I’m glad I didn’t, now that I look around me at this crazy world. Of course, that decision cost me relationships down the years…. And that’s the way it goes.  It seemed to me to be a sensible choice to make when I was twenty; and now that I hit sixty, it still feels that way. Here’s the thing:  I don’t actually mind kids as much as I make out; can even just about bear them sometimes.  There are three six-year-olds who live close to me and I enjoy listening to them playing.  But they seem to be the exception.  Hell, for a start they are laughing and having fun with each other, with nary a zombie-phone in sight.  It’s nice to hear.  Even this Grumpy Old Git likes the sound of children laughing. And I actually missed that wonderful sound of laughter when they all went away for Easter. Actually missed it, who would have thought that of me?  But I do think that these kids are the exception. Yet the other side of it includes being sick and tired of children being allowed to run around the place, be it the supermarket, any given shop or even in the church.  Their witless... Full Article →