Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Cancer Services At The Super Bowl

It could be that Mary Harney, Minister for Health, is a huge Tom Petty fan. No one has suggested that she's interested in American football. Why else would she have attended such a premier sporting event?

Fine Gael's Alan Shatter would like to know why Ms. Harney was sitting in the stands on Sunday night, when she was supposed to be on government business. Why, he would like to know, was she absent from the Dail's debate about cystic fibrosis yet present in Phoenix?

As it turns out, the trip had been organized some time ago. Ms. Harney's itinerary took in stops in Arizona, Texas and Washington, where she was looking over cancer treatment at U.S. hospitals. She'd probably like to introduce some of the techniques to the Irish health services, but expensive protocols don't mix with national health. Someone has to pay, and the taxpayers don't care to be the ones doing the paying, but they're the only ones paying for national health care so there you go, around and around in another endless loop.

Mr. Shatter may have forgotten that the cystic fibrosis debate was tabled on Friday when Ms. Harney left on the junket. He probably doesn't know how impossible it is to get tickets to something like the Super Bowl, and he wouldn't realize that Ms. Harney's hosts in Arizona were being gracious when they took her along to the game.

There was plenty of time during the match to discuss cancer treatments. Tom Petty's half-time show was only about twenty minutes long, and then there were those long stretches when Tom Brady wasn't on the field, bending over the center in his skin-tight, body-hugging pants.....

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