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Posts tagged ‘Mary Harney’

Driving Mrs Lizi

 

Stated costs of Q Visit date 27/06/2010

It has been reported that the security bill for Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Ireland next year could cost the taxpayer more than €8m.

Read more: http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/eygbmhcwcwoj/#ixzz1MlqzSff4

Then we have

Roads in Dublin city centre were closed to traffic from the weekend and for the duration of the visit as part of precautions to prevent trouble. All the places on the Queen’s itinerary, including the national horse stud in Kildare and Cork, have been placed under police guard. The Irish security operation is predicted to cost €30m

Link http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/may/16/irish-police-arrest-republican-dissidents-queens-visit

And this morning we have this:

No funds left for nursing home care scheme

THE FUNDING allocated for the running of the Fair Deal nursing home support scheme this year has run out already, it emerged yesterday.

At the end of April more than 22,000 older people were receiving financial support under the scheme and the money available for 2011 does not allow for any net increase in this figure.

This means no new applicants will be able to enter the scheme this year unless existing applicants die. This could significantly increase the number of acute hospital beds which will be blocked to new admissions, leading to longer trolley waits in emergency departments. At the end of February, 671 beds were occupied by delayeddischarge patients.

News of the suspension of the approval of new applicants for funding under the scheme was relayed to hospitals in recent days by the HSE. Noel Mulvihill, the HSE’s assistant national director of services for older people, advised in a letter that “until we have a clear position on future funding” no new applications for the scheme should be processed.

However, the HSE said last night applications would continue to be processed but they would be granted only if money becomes available to fund them.

The news is a major headache for Minister for Health James Reilly, whose predecessor Mary Harney introduced Fair Deal in October 2009. His spokesman said he became aware in recent days there was an issue over funding the scheme and held a number of meetings on it. He told the HSE to continue to accept applications for the scheme and had instructed officials to prepare proposals on how future applications to Fair Deal would be dealt with.

Dr Reilly’s spokesman said: “At this stage it seems that the funding difficulty may be due to a combination of a significantly greater than anticipated increase in net demand, increases in the cost of care and a number of other factors.”

The scheme, which replaced nursing home subventions, is designed to help pay for the care required by individuals entering public and private nursing homes.

It is budget-capped each year and provides for applicants to defer the cost of their care until after their death if they wish by putting a lien on the value of their home at a rate of 5 per cent per year for a maximum of three years. This could now be increased to raise revenue.

The HSE, in a statement, said it was working with the Department of Health to explore options to meet the increased demand within the resources available. It also said the cost of private nursing homes has increased by about 4 per cent this year.

It is unclear how the cost of funding the scheme could have been so grossly underestimated. One source said part of the problem was older people funded under the scheme were on average living longer than anticipated.

Age Action called on the Government to address the problem urgently. “This is a nightmare situation,” its spokesman Eamon Timmins said. Older people could now be forced to pay the full cost of care or take their place “on a waiting list until somebody currently occupying a nursing home bed under the scheme vacates that bed or dies”.

Source: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/0519/1224297286179.html

Comment:

So it would appear that the Irish Government has no money to look after its own old folks but is prepared to spend at least 30,000,000; 00 on two old folks from England who happened to be members of one of the richest families in the world. Wining and dining these two rich old folk might or might not bring some more tourists to the country but with people dying on trolleys, our countries old, left to die without proper care after a lifetime of disappointment by our political codgers and champagne socialists. Mark my words no sooner will these two old folks leave the country when the same politicians now stuffing themselves and grovelling before the Queen of England will announce new measures “for the good of the country”( you understand) will have to make adjustments to the country’s finances that will result with you and me having to pay more taxes and pay more for ever diminishing public services.  

Anglo Irish relations are important and we do need to encouraged them,and I can’t see any harm in these two old folk taking a few days to tour around, a once owned property of the family .

But friends do not take advantage of each other’s weakness and our “Friends” in England are not exactly showering us with favours with regards their portion of funds in the so called Irish National Bailout .It’s more like a bailout for themselves and we get to pay for it through the nose. Why not demonstrate this friendship by the debt forgiveness? after all we are in fact bailing their banks out by default! Friends like these we can do without! But true Friends we certainly do need.

Minster just shuffling the pack before he pulls a card from the bottom!

By Michael Brennan

Friday April 29 2011

HEALTH Minister James Reilly is planning to get insiders from his own department and the Health Service Executive to replace the outsiders on the HSE board.

He is going to appoint senior civil servants and HSE officials to replace the 12-member HSE board, which unanimously accepted his call for their resignations yesterday.

Those stepping down include UCD Professor Niamh Brennan — the wife of former PD leader Michael McDowell — and former Dublin city manager John Fitzgerald.

Dr Reilly said last night that he had made his move because he wanted to reduce the gap that had developed between the Department of Health and the HSE during former health minister Mary Harney‘s tenure.

“If we’re going back to anything, it’s to ministerial responsibility. I am shortening that chain of command, and I believe this will be for the betterment of patients through improved services,” he said.

The only survivors from the 12-member HSE board will be chairman Frank Dolphin and HSE chief executive Cathal Magee. They will be appointed to the interim HSE board, along with Department of Health secretary general Michael Scanlan and other Department of Health and HSE officials.

The board, which held its final meeting in the HSE’s offices in Adelaide Road in Dublin yesterday, will be officially abolished by the end of the year when legislation is passed.

But Dr Reilly said the structure would still remain — with the intention of keeping a good line of communication open between him, the HSE and his department. He said he would be able to get quicker reports on waiting times for patients in emergency departments.

Mr Reilly praised the retiring HSE board members for their “tremendous public service” and said they had got no pay-offs for offering their resignations.

Dr Reilly’s move is a reversal of the policy of the previous government, which clearly separated the HSE and the Department of Health. It is part of a plan to increase the control of the Department over the HSE as Dr Reilly begins his re-organisation of the health service.

The programme for Government states that the minister and the department will be “responsible for policy and spending”. It says that the HSE will cease to exist “as its functions are given to other bodies during this process of reform”.

However, the switch over to a system of universal health insurance is due to take at least five years.

Editorial comment & analysis: Page 20

– Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

Irish Independent

comment:

I wouldn’t be feeling sorry for the Board of the SHE they are all well looked after and have other jobs to go to .The Minister  has done a good job in getting rid of them but what is he going to do now  ?

Well of course he has friends he will now look after and we can expect to see them get the nod  this is the norm in Irish politics behind closed doors all the rotten details are kept and in a few years from now we will get to hear of the deals that this Minster is doing right now .Here is an example of rotten deals done it now appears that Brian Lenihan approved of the last bumper lottery payout to the former AIB chairman  see below

By Emmet Oliver Deputy Business Editor

Friday April 29 2011

AIB has said that Brian Lenihan rubber-stamped the €2.7m pay package for its managing director Colm Doherty when he stepped down last year.

The bank, in its 2010 annual report, claimed that the then finance minister considered Mr Doherty’s terms and conditions in November 2009 — and raised no objection.

It said Mr Lenihan approved Mr Doherty’s “existing entitlements” at the time.

The annual report reveals that AIB directors paid themselves €4.3m in 2010.

The bank revealed the sequence of events when Mr Doherty became managing director in 2009.

It said the Government’s own pay watchdog for the financial sector (known as CIROC) signed off on his contractual entitlements, including cash payments to compensate him for a cap on his overall pension benefits.

“Mr Doherty’s entitlements in lieu of pension benefits accrued above his personal fund threshold were notified to, and discussed with, the Government-established Covered Institution Remuneration Oversight Committee (CIROC) in January and February 2009,” said AIB. It pointed out that the Revenue Commissioners also signed off on the arrangements.

“Subsequently, AIB sought agreement from the relevant authorities on Mr Doherty’s contractual entitlements in the context of his appointment as group managing director,” explained the bank.

“The matter was considered in November 2009 by the then Minister for Finance, who agreed to Mr Doherty’s appointment on a voluntarily reduced salary and continuation of existing contractual entitlements, including payment of pension allowances.”

The report reveals that Mr Doherty was granted a €432,000 salary, benefits of €50,000, payments in lieu of pension benefits of €1.96m, a termination payment of €953,000 and another pension payment of €1.04m

Mr Doherty was forced to step down last year when Mr Lenihan demanded changes at the top as part of the recapitalisation of the bank.

It had been reported during 2009 that Mr Lenihan did not want Mr Doherty in the senior role and wanted the AIB board to find a suitable outsider.

– Emmet Oliver Deputy Business Editor

Irish Independent

Again another example of a minster appearing to do the right thing only to be feather nesting his own pal (softening the blow as it were) Lenihan lied to the people, of Ireland and I don’t expect any more from the current government minsters.    

None of these career politicians are trustworthy .The Current Minster was the same guy that negotiated with the last Minster of Health the enormous pay packets for the country’s hospital consultants. The Irish Hospital Consultants Association is one of the most powerful lobby groups in the country and famously described a salary of €250000 as “peanuts”. Is he the right man to get a severe cut in their salaries now??? I don’t think so!

The Minster is just shuffling the pack before he pulls a card from the bottom! This is what they do!

Ministerial helicopter flights 2005 to 2009

received this morning in the post

from www.thestory.ie

Ministerial helicopter flights 2005 to 2009 Posted: 22 Feb 2011 04:17 PM PST Helicopter flights taken by Ministers, including flight time, estimated cost, minister name, route (in some cases) and diary entry for that day (where available). Bertie Ahern was the biggest user – he got around. From early 2005 to late 2009, about €383,243.31 was spent ferrying ministers around by helicopter alone. This excludes the cost of ministerial cars, which would often be involved at some level in each trip. It also does not include the use of government jets. This is the approximate breakdown (in a few cases two Ministers traveled together):

 Bertie Ahern €76,491.65

Willie O’Dea €45,873.34

Noel Dempsey €39,802.5

Eamon O Cuiv €29,590.83

Michael McDowell €25,529.99

Mary Coughlan €25,135.83

 Mary Harney €23,352.5

Dermot Ahern €22,431.67

Brian Cowen €17,894.17

Mary Hanafin €14,177.5

Martin Cullen €13,455.83

Brian Lenihan €13,095.83

 Batt O’Keeffe €12,822.5

John O’Donoghue €10,475

John Gormley €6,890

Seamus Brennan €3,975

Brendan Smith €3,180

Dick Roche €3,180

Micheal Martin €2,347.5 (H/T Colm King) with other data available at www.kildarestreet.com

“Evil prospers when good men do nothing.”

                                                            

                               Fine Gael and Labour looking after business!

Goes  to show the markets are not jumping for joy(see  “Ireland’s credit rating grouped with Botswana “ ) with the prospect of Fine Gael or Labour taking office soon .They are only offering more of the same gombeenisem  and stroke politics.

Looking after themselves is their number one priority. Here we have ten people who have been telling us the citizens of Ireland that we are livening beyond our means and have justified imposing sever austerity measures never before see in this country .I see the results of these measures every day in all estates around the county of Wicklow below you see their pension payments that they will receive for the rest of their lives and none of the established political parties have come out and promised to cut back on these lottery pensions .These payments are immoral and cannot be justified.

I see evil and I am standing up against it are you with me?

They show how bankrupt the political system and how corrupt it is!  

By voting for the established political parties you are voting for a continuing of this type of behaviour. I am ashamed to go to the doors of people and just stand there and not be able to do anything about this, when you see people who can’t pay for the heating or their car tax or are dreading the next ESB bill or the next VHI notice of payments due.

Wicklow Friday 25th February 2011, 22:00  

                                                       Constituency Betting  
 

    Singles Only. 5 Seats. To win a seat for the constituency at the next general election. All in, run or not. **Not all candidates are confirmed. Bets will stand regardless.** Others on request.

Billy Timmins (FG) 1/6

Tom Fortune (Lab) 11/8

Pat Kavanagh (Ind) 25/1

Anne Ferris (Lab) 1/3

Pat Fitzgerald (FF) 11/8

Gerry Kinsella (Ind) 25/1

Andrew Doyle (FG) 4/9

Joe Behan (Ind) 11/8

Niall Byrne (Green) 28/1

Conal Kavanagh (Lab) 4/9

John Brady (SF) 7/4

Peter Dempsey 33/1

Dick Roche (FF) 4/6

Stephen Donnelly (Ind) 14/1

Robert Kearns (Ind) 33/1

Simon Harris (FG) 4/6

   

   

Judging from the paddy power betting I haven’t got a hope so why do I continue to put myself to the expense of standing when I can’t reach all 130,000 voters in the county when I can only speak to 20 people every hour and only commit to 5 hours every day until the Election Day

Because I want to be able to show my Children I did something to try and stop this outright robbery and I stood up to this corrupt system.

                        Evil prospers when good men do nothing.”

Brian Cowen   310,000:00 Euro FF       Noel Dempsey  313,000:00 Euro FF

Mary Harney  310,000:00 Euro NP       Willie O Dee   270,000:00 Euro  FF

Noel Ahern    310,000:00 Euro FF       Ned o Keeffe 250,000:00 Euro FF

Martin Cullen  265,000:00 Euro FF       Bat O Keeffe   258.000:00 Euro FF

John Gormley  229.000.00 Euro GP       Eamon Ryian  229.000:00 Euro GP

                           Good Men and Woman help stop this now

Conor Lenihan calles on Cowen to resign

Minister of State Conor Lenihan has said Taoiseach Brian Cowen should resign.

Mr Lenihan said events over the last 24 hours have raised an issue about his leadership once again and he said quick action was needed by senior members of the party.

The Taoiseach should look at the situation, he said, and the effect his approach has had on the party and its supporters over the past number of days.

Conor Lenihan said Mr Cowen’s authority and credibility has been eroded over the last few days and many people who voted confidence in him are now thinking quite the opposite.

Mr Lenihan said he was angry and embarrassed for supporters of Fianna Fáil who were looking on in horror at what was happening.

A huge disservice had been done to the name of the party, he said.

Conor Lenihan said Brian Cowen has lost the confidence of the country and he said the only way the Fianna Fáil leadership issue can be resolved is if Mr Cowen thinks about the position in which he has placed the party.

It would be in the best interest of the party if Brian Cowen moved on because he said it was not working out, he added.

Comment:

I wonder if Connor was supposed to get one of the top jobs and he is now upset because Cowen is no longer able to deliver on his promises???

So now we have people who supported Mr.Cowen saying that there have regrets this of course shows that their judgement is at best questionable and they are not fit to be in government let alone ministers.

It is now dawning on the Fianna Fail TD’s that enabled Cowen to remain clinging on to power it was a mistake and a mistake they will dearly pay for in the coming election. As far as I am concerned they are no better than traitors, they have proven themselves to be poor judges of the mood of the people and they have behaved with an arrogance that can only be equal to that of Marie Antoinette. The imposition of the so called austerity measures is even more insulting when one considers that Mary Harney will be walking away with her loot from the last of the Irish treasury bills (Euro 300.000:00) This should not be allowed and indeed should be confiscated and put towards the health costs of the poor unfortunate citizens who now find themselves without health care!

None of the retiring TD’s should be allowed to plunder the Irish treasury in this way.

Ireland to-day

 

Noel Dempsey, Dermot Ahern and Tony Killeen have joined Mary Harney in resigning from Cabinet.

A spokesman for the Taoiseach confirmed that he had received letters of resignation from the three.

The ministers had already announced that they are not to contest the general election.

Their letters are to be forwarded to the President who will formally accept the resignations.

Their resignations bring the number of vacancies in the Cabinet to five.

Earlier, Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney announced that she had offered her resignation to the Taoiseach, after deciding not to contest the next General Election.

Ms Harney told RTÉ News this evening that she did not believe it was appropriate for someone who was not running in the election to continue to serve in Cabinet.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen has told the Dáil that the General Election will take place on Friday, 11 March.

Watch live

Mr Cowen said the Finance Bill will be brought before Dáil next week and will make its way through the legislative stages over the following weeks.

He also rejected the Labour Party notion that he was engaging in a stunt regarding the ministerial resignation and said the truth was far from it.

He said on the 11 March he will go to the country with a strong front bench line up and said the election was about the future of the country.

Mr Cowen also announced that President McAleese has accepted the resignations of Ministers Mary Harney, Dermot Ahern, Noel Dempsey, Tony Killeen and Batt O’Keeffe.

Mr Cowen paid tribute to their work. He also confirmed Batt O’Keeffe would not be contesting the election.

He has reassigned the following Government portfolios:

Department of Health and Children to the Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills, Mary Coughlan.

Department of Transport to the Minister for Community, Equalilty and Gaeltact Affairs Pat Carey.

Department of Justice and Law Reform to Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smyth.

Department of Trade, Enterprise and Innovation to Minister for Tourism, Sport and Culture, Mary Hanafin.

Department of Defence to Minister for Social Protection Eamon O’Cuiv.

Earlier, Government Chief Whip John Curran has said he would be surprised if the Green Party pulled out of Government. He said the government parties remain committed to enacting legislation giving effect to the budget.

Meanwhile, Green Party are meeting to discuss the developments.

Earlier, the Dáil was suspended after Opposition parties condemned the way the Government was handling the situation.

Amid heated exchanges in the Dáil this morning, Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore said what had happened was disrespectful to the people.

He said the Government was disintegrating and said the moves would seriously impact on the running of the country.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said the resignations had been plotted and planned for the last couple of weeks and called on the Greens to stand up to their coalition partners.

He said Fianna Fáil had treated the Green Party with contempt.

Some 50,000 people will emigrate this year, and 25,000 jobs will be lost, according to the latest economic forecast from the Economic and Social Research Institute.

However, the ESRI says the economy is set to grow by 1.5% this year, with exports increasing by 6%.

In its latest quarterly commentary, the ESRI forecasts growth for the Irish economy of 2.25% of GDP next year.

Gross National Product, which excludes multinational profits, should grow by a 0.25% this year and 1.5% next year. This growth will be driven by continuing strong export performance.

But most job creation comes from the domestic sector, and here the ESRI says the combined effects of income tax increases in the budget, continuing problems in the banking industry, and a collapse in consumer confidence will depress demand, leading to some 25,000 fewer jobs.

Unemployment is forecast to average 13.5% this year, dropping slightly to 13% next year.

The ESRI expects emigration to pick up strongly, with some 50,000 forecast to emigrate this year. This compares to 44,000 who left the country in 1989, the peak year for emigration in the 1980s.

then we have this

Health Minister Mary Harney dramatically resigned last night and is now in line for a €310,000 pension payoff.

As her resignation brought closer a major cabinet re-shuffle, Sport and Tourism Minister Mary Hanafin clung on to her post and will escape the axe despite voting against Taoiseach Brian Cowen in the confidence ballot.

Following the departure of former Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin — and now Ms Harney — Mr Cowen is being urged to bring in new blood and freshen up the FF line up ahead of the general election.

Last night, Ms Harney announced she was not contesting the forthcoming general election.

The former Tanaiste and PD leader also offered her resignation as Health Minister to Mr Cowen, which he accepted.

Given Mr Martin’s departure, she said it would be appropriate to stand down.

Ms Harney will receive:

* An annual ministerial pension of about €69,200.

* A TD’s pension of around €50,600 per year.

* A pension lump sum of around €160,000.

* A termination lump sum of around €17,000.

* And a year of monthly termination payments from the Oireachtas worth another €66,900.

She will also get additional payments for serving as Tanaiste between 1997 and 2006 in the Fianna Fail-Progressive Democrat coalitions.

The €50,600 TD pension only kicks in once the monthly termination payments, paid the year immediately after retirement, have stopped.

The total package is at least €313,100 over the next year, whereas she would have received around €322,300 if he retired before the Budget.

But the Green Party is insisting the shake-up must not be used to delay the holding of the general election on March.

and this

FORMER Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin will qualify instantly for “obscene” severance payments of around €95,000 after quitting his job.

Under legislation introduced in 1992, ex-ministers and ex-attorney generals get severance payments for two years to compensate them for the loss of their ministerial salary of €98,745.

However, Mr Martin will be contesting the next general election, so he will not be claiming his ministerial pension (which would have been worth almost €75,000 per year) and a TD’s pension (worth around €54,000 per year).

Fine Gael Senator John Paul Phelan criticised the severance package for Mr Martin as “obscene”.

 

Comment:

 As the farcical Government top rats now run away from office I am beginning to wonder what monstrous secrets lurk within those fine offices that have forced them to such undignified exits.

Cowen and lenihan have for so long played the people of Ireland and have gotten used to ruling the country as if it were their own personal property bestowing jobs for their lackeys and cronies and even this action or even the promise of such rewards for the recent support for Cowen has now become unstuck .We are experiencing today in Ireland what it must have been like for the last days of Rome.

With all its corruption and betrayal we the people of Ireland stand innocent and betrayed once again by those we have invested our thrust in

Nothing but the total disbandment of Fianna Fail and the Green political parties should now be considered and criminal negligent charges and treason charges should be brought against these traitors

A full international investigation on all events that have brought our country into this sad state must be carried out and the treachery of the public office holders must be punished.

Fianna Fail’s last attempt of stroke pulling has blown up in Cowens face !

This turkey should be plucked!

Our globetrotting ex-tánaiste has always displayed a flair for five-star extravagance

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Travel: €600,000 in three years

EVEN in a government with a well-deserved reputation for excess, ex-tánaiste Mary Harney’s love of all things five-star still shines through.
From €1,200-a-night suites to $410 beauty spa bills, the health minister has seen the inside of at least as many luxury hotels as an average member of Britain’s royal family.
Harney has never been shy of using VIP transport either and once marshalled one of the government’s jets to travel to Co Leitrim to open a friend’s off-licence.
At the height of the controversy over ministerial expenses, it emerged that three years of travel for Harney at the height of the Celtic Tiger era had cost the taxpayer €600,000.
In February 2008, she jetted off to the US on an official visit with her husband and advisers to Phoenix, Houston and Washington DC.
An important debate on healthcare was due to take place in the Dáil but Harney could not partake as business abroad – including attendance at the Super Bowl – was calling.
For that trip, Harney’s delegation flew to Arizona, where they drove to the Mii Amo Enchantment hotel in Sedona.
The hotel – named by the New York Times as one of the decade’s most influential hotels – was more than two-and-a-half hours’ drive from Phoenix, where all of the official engagements were taking place.
Accommodation for the minister and her husband at the spa resort cost $1,580 with more than €10,200 paid out in car and limousine charges on the trip.
The estimated cost for use of the government’s Gulfstream IV executive jet was estimated in the region of €163,000.
From Phoenix, Harney and company moved on to Washington DC where they stayed at the Renaissance Mayflower hotel.
More than $3,500 was spent there, with a restaurant bill for $270, a round of drinks costing $90, three breakfasts costing $71 and $32 spent on an omelette.
In April 2005, the health minister was one of four senior politicians who ran up a €21,000 bill at a hotel in Rome during a single night.
Harney along with President Mary McAleese, then-Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny enjoyed an evening in the sumptuous surrounds of the Hotel de la Minerve during a trip to attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II.
Harney’s room on that trip
cost €1,200, which seems reasonable when set against McAleese’s €3,198 suite.
And Harney need never have worried about going short of a few shillings when venturing overseas.
Her visa limit was set at a massive €50,000 – and that was more than enough to cover costs such as a €994 meal at Spiaggia restaurant in Chicago, when the normal departmental credit card was rejected.
Luxury did not always have to come with a price for Harney, and having wealthy friends was useful for a busy minister looking to unwind in the summer.
In 1999, it emerged that Harney, along with the then finance minister Charlie McCreevy, had enjoyed holidays in France at the Provence holiday home of millionaire businessman Ulick McEvaddy.

source :http://www.tribune.ie/news/home-news/article/2011/jan/09/our-globetrotting-ex-tanaiste-has-always-displayed/

Comment:
Five  years ago I called for this turkey to be plucked and cooked  and I’am still waiting !

Harney lives it up in Far East luxury as Ireland ails

Harney lives it up in Far East luxury as Ireland ails
Health minister rounds off three-week holiday with stay at €434-a-night Bangkok hotel, writes Mark Hilliard

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The Peninsula, Bangkok: Harney and her husband spent three nights at the five-star hotel

THIS is the luxury Bangkok hotel where Mary Harney was holed up on a private holiday as the nation’s health system fell apart.
The besieged minister checked in on New Year’s Day and left after three nights at the five-star Peninsula hotel, where rooms can cost as much as €434 a night.
Harney arrived home today from her luxury three-week holiday in Thailand where she was accompanied by her husband Brian Geoghegan. The couple flew out of Dublin airport in mid December and spent several days in Hong Kong before, it is believed, meeting up with another couple, travelling around Thailand and arriving in Bangkok and the Peninsula hotel on 1 January.
Its opulent accommodation is a far cry from the hallway trolleys endured by hundreds of patients in Irish hospitals last week – and its prices firmly out of reach of those blindsided by massive VHI hikes.
And as the country experienced a surge in cases of swine flu, Harney enjoyed the trappings of one of Bangkok’s finest establishments. Hotel staff confirmed that she checked in under the name Geoghegan.
Famed for its river views from every room, the Peninsula will set you back anywhere from €255 to €434 per night, while an upgrade to its lavish suites will cost between €511 and €3,066 a night. The hotel boasts of its “sensational bathrooms and some of the city’s most spacious accommodation”.
“Whatever your expectation, we can match it with rooms ranging from deluxe to those with an open balcony, graduating to opulent suites with terraces and outdoor Jacuzzis for the full cityscape panorama.
“We guarantee unrivalled peace and tranquility in exceptional comfort.”
Rooms at the Peninsula are designed to the highest possible standard of luxury, offering guests remote-control mood lighting and blinds “to make the most of the kaleidoscope of lights as day turns to night across the Bangkok cityscape”.
Further up the extravagant high-rise hotel, the €408-a-night balcony rooms invite guests to take in the panoramic views “and feel the breeze in their hair” or to “create your own personal paradise with a custom-designed dinner a deux overlooking the Chao Phraya river“.
It is unclear exactly what type of accommodation the minister enjoyed for her three-night stay but it will contrast with those at home suffering the side effects of a health system in freefall. Yesterday, as she made her way back to Ireland, protestors gathered in anger at record numbers of patients being forced to endure hospital trolleys in overcrowded wards.
In a statement issued by Harney last Thursday, she told VHI subscribers that there were no barriers to switching their policies to other companies.
source :http://www.tribune.ie/article/2011/jan/09/harney-lives-it-up-in-far-east-luxury-as-ireland-a/

Trying to get Home

Apart from the long slog coming home today, the VHI price hikes and the constant “voluntary payments” for the various school trips, charities, “events” and the ever increasing price of petrol now euro  1.48…… What happened to “We are back to 2001 prices”??? Listening to the crooked politicians consentingly evading the serious questions, and then riding off into the sunset with pensions I will never in a 100 lifetimes get! leaving the country in a total financial mess , one could be forgiven for immersing oneself into a bewildered state …Then I think no not me I am going to fight them and we together will bring about the change this country desperately needs. But we must take action now we must decide ourselves and not wait for someone else to start .We must collectively decide that this state of affairs is no longer good enough we must demand that we get accountability from those we entrust to carry out our expressed whishes and not put up with their total incompetence and waffle!

We must demand higher standards the standards we ourselves have to live up to every working day of our own lives.

Machholz

VHI Price Hike

By

CHARLIE TAYLOR

Rival healthcare insurers have criticised VHI for its decision to raise its premiums by as much as 45 per cent from next month.

Aviva said it was “deeply concerned” by the VHI’s price hike, which it claimed was evidence the insurer has abandoned community rating in favour of targeting younger customers.

“With today’s 45 per cent increases, the continued deterioration in the VHI’s reserves and its continued failure to meet the regulatory requirements for insurance companies, it is clear that the VHI continues to operate without accountability,” Aviva said in a statement.

Quinn Healthcare said today’s announcement was “a direct result of the inefficiencies of the VHI”.

In December, the Government announced that the health insurance levy would increase by almost 11 per cent for adults and 20 per cent for children.

“Despite the fact that this levy directly benefits the VHI in excess of €55 million at the expense of its competitors they have now announced another significant price increase,” said the insurer’s general manager Dónal Clancy.

“Strong intervention by the Government is now an urgent requirement to prevent the VHI from continually penalising its most vulnerable customers with unaffordable increases while simultaneously ignoring the significant cost savings to be made by reforming the VHI.”

The Irish Brokers Association said the increases could add €600 to the cost of a VHI plan for a typical family.

“The increases in the cost of our private health cover may ultimately lead to a situation where the under 40s, particularly those with large mortgages opt out of the system due to absolute affordability,” said the association’s chief executive Ciaran Phelan.

“If the average age of private health members increases as a result, the cost for the remainder will rise exponentially until no-one can afford it. In simple terms, we have an Irish/ American health system of Irish standards with American prices,” he added.

Community organisations representing pensioners reacted angrily to the news.

Age Action said this afternoon it was shocked at the levels of increase announced.

“Increases of between 21 per cent and 45 per cent on Plans B, C, D, and E options will inevitably put the cost of private health insurance beyond the reach of many older people. And it is precisely the same cohort of older people who were hit badly in the recent budget, those retired on modest public or civil servant pensions,” said the organisation’s senior information officer Gerard Scully. “Many of these will find it difficult to move to another provider and many may also have lost their entitlement to the medical card.”

The Irish Senior Citizens Parliament said the increase would put healthcare beyond the reach of many older people.

Chief executive Mairead Hayes urged the Health Insurance Authority to take immediate steps to clarify whether the rise in premiums has been sanctioned by it. She also called on the Minister for Health and Children to intervene to resolve the issue immediately.

“Older people are specifically referred to in the VHI announcement. It is only natural that as a person ages they will need appropriate care. Most have paid health insurance over a number of years and did not resent the reciprocity and solidarity involved,” she said.

In a statement issued this afternoon, Minister for Health Mary Harney said the Government had announced strategy for the private health insurance market last May which addressed a number of issues including competition and financing of the sector.

Ms Harney said the private health insurance market was “very complex “and said there were “no easy solutions.” to making it fair for everyone.

She noted that there was choice in the sector with plans available for consumers of every age group. She added that those with insurance were able to choose alternative insurers without penalties or barriers to switching.

However, opposition parties were also critical of the increases with Fine Gael’s health spokesman and deputy leader James Reilly saying the insurer’s decision to hike its premiums could not have come at a worse time for families.

“Just as the full impact of Budget 2011 is hitting pay-packets and the children’s allowance has been slashed, families are now being asked to pay for the cost of recapitalising the VHI after years of Government inaction,” he said.

“It’s extraordinary that after nearly 50 years of monopoly, the VHI has failed to control medical costs in this country. We need more competition to drive down costs, right across the board,” he added.

The Labour Party’s spokeswoman on health Jan O’Sullivan said the price rises would place huge financial pressure on households who could ill-afford it.

“These increases will lead to situation where many policy holders will reduce or drop their health cover, placing yet more pressure on the public health system,” she said. “The current system is not only inequitable but it is also hugely inefficient and works neither for those who have health insurance, nor for those who do not. It is clear that a complete change is needed sooner rather than later,” Ms O’Sullivan added

Source:  http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2011/0106/breaking57.html  

Comment:

The latest VHI increases again remind us that the political system is in fact to blame for this fast becoming second mortgage around our collective necks .As parents we have our hands full with the existing bills and health is a constant worry without having to face yearly hikes  like this one.

The crockadiel tears coming from some of the Fine Gail politicians is just laughable as it was one of their front bench that sucked the taxpayers dry by insisting on nearly 250,000 euro salaries for the already overpaid consultants  in our hospitals, doctors he was representing at the time when their contracts were been negotiated.  

Doctor fees paid by HSE 2009

Then we have this former Taoiseach tell us that the political system is crap because minsters are not fully accountable to the Dail.

see link

http://www.independent.ie/national-news/former-taoiseach-bruton-condemns-political-system-2486999.html

Great only he never realized this when he was in the driving seat of course.

 Then today we have the labor party telling us they want to change politics in Ireland

see link  http://www.examiner.ie/breakingnews/ireland/labour-outlines-proposed-political-reforms-488279.html

but Eamon Gilmore can’t even tell you how much a liter of milk costs or a loaf of bread .The point is that the politicians from the established parties do not want any meaningful change, yes they will propose change but letting it up to them , when they will implement change is an entirely different matter.   

This seems to me to be a lot of waffle and promises to change that will never happen trying to butter up the voter before a general election

No mention of bringing the crooks within Irish politics to justice or the top civil servants that helped them

Machholz

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