Meadhbh McGivern must be feeling pretty sick this morning, in both senses of the word. She needs a kidney transplant and apparently President Mary McAleese’s private jet was available, on her return from the wedding of Prince Whathisname in Monaco, to take the fourteen-year-old to London for the operation. But wouldn't you know it, the health authorities in the south managed to screw things up by opting for travel by a slower means, the Coast Guard helicopter, to King’s College Hospital in London, and so the chance was lost.
The incident raises a number of questions. Three of the more obvious:
· How come, despite the billions and billions that came pouring into the state during the Celtic Tiger years, nothing remotely resembling a decent health service was established in the twenty-six counties?
· It’s nice of President McAleese to have made the private jet available; but what does she need it for in the first place? Could she not have gritted her teeth and settled for First Class on a scheduled flight? More generally, why do political leaders and heads of state have to travel in big cars and private planes when they go somewhere? Is it so the people who elected them will feel this shows the neighbours we’re important? Or is it that the people who elected them have been conned into believing that luxury for leaders and penury for ordinary people is the way God planned it?
· What in the name of the same God was Mary McAleese doing at that charade of a wedding between that eejit Prince Albert and Charlene Wittstock? I got ambushed by it on TV news a couple of times and I promise you, I had to hide behind the sofa with a cushion over my head. Ex-cruc-iating. Albert made Prince Charles look like he was mad about Diana. Yet Mary McAleese, courtesy of the Irish taxpayer, travelled all that distance for…that? Padraig Pearse must be whirling like a turbo-prop propeller in his grave.
Meanwhile young Meadhbh McGivern lies waiting for a transplant, ill and helpless. The twenty-six counties should issue a stamp with her on it. She embodies the condition of the southern state exactly.