Updated: 13/02/16 : 05:51:07
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Varadkar, poster boy still falls short in Sligo

By Eugene McGloin
Political Editor


SLIGO WILL remember Leo Varadkar's as Minister for Health long after the dust has settled on his career.

It will not be for anything he did; in his half term as Minister in Health he hasnt done anything of note for Sligo.

Varadkar may be already a poster boy, The Pretender, in some sections of Fine Gael but that home-turf homage is undeserving of wider audience.

The Minister, like so many others, is hopelessly lost in ''Angola,'' as Brian Cowen christened the job from Hell.

Higher Things

Well not quite Hell -- in recent decades ''Angola'' has always been the stepping stone to higher things.

Charles Haughey, Brian Cowen and Michael Martin all became leaders of their party after a spell in ''Angola.'' Two became Taoisigh.

 In Fine Gael Michael Noonan followed the same path en route to the top job.

Varadkar has proved very little after five years of portfolios at senior level.

He has repeatedly under-funded hospitals like Sligo University Hospital and significantly so.

His under-funding for the 12 months of 2015 is not yet known.

The reason we don't know is that the HSE Performance Report for December 2015 is not yet released.

The HSE/Varadkar response and funding timeframe to issues raised at St. John's Hospital by the regulatory authority, HIQA, seems tardy. See link below.

Blame for all these things being so poor rests both with our TDs and with our candidates.

How many candidates in Sligo have made 'health' their priority issue in Election 2016?

Indeed, how many of them have made 'health' an issue at all, huh?

There is plenty of guff and spoof -- and contrived photos -- to be seen in this region.

I'm even collecting the stuff -- sad example of an 'anorak.'

Good Comprehension

Contrast that with, say, Tipperary, where Michael Lowry has been under the media cosh for a fortnight.

Lowry has a half page advert in the new issue of Clonmel's newspaper, The Nationalist.

It deals solely with health and offers a good comprehension of the issues.

Such issues are NOT confined to Tipperary and yet we have a plethora of political aspirants in Sligo who miss the boat on health focus. Most, not all.

Sligo lacks strategic thinkers in this election on health issues.

We will pay a 'price' for this wan performance and lack of focus on health.

Last night at home we got PRE PRINTED ''sorry to have missed you'' cards through the door in the dark from Government candidates.

Jesus wept. Old people are advised not to be opening doors after dark.

Anyway, Leo Varadkar is a nice guy but falls far short as a Minister for Health.

Disarming Simplicity

Varadkar's tenure will mostly be remembered in Sligo for the letter he got in January 2015 from the children of late Sally Rowlette. See link below.

What stands out in the letter is its disarming simplicity with its powerful and punchy advocacy. It moved the Minister, too.

Reading it again only underlines just how poor quality are many of the political campaigns we are now enduring locally, yes enduring.

Links: Sligo childrens' letter of the year to Leo Varadkar  Sligo Today 21/1/15
         HSE hospital building not fit for older people  Sligo Today 15/9/15