Friday, March 11, 2005

Travers Stakes

The biggest story in this part of Ireland for the past few days has been the Travers Report, a government investigation into the practice of charging nursing home patients who should not have been charged. Or, at least, that's what I think this is all about.

Truth is, I haven't paid that much attention. I'm not sure why, but most of these scandals just don't grab me. I know they should. Maybe it's because the media is so overwhelming when they cover such a story. And, it's impossible to shake the feeling that all they want is a resignation from the government. All other considerations seem to pale. Who's head is going to roll is all that matters (and Lunch Time on Newstalk106 has been a gross offender in this regard).

The media is mostly focused on the fact that this mismanagement will 'cost' €2bn or whatever. Yet, my reaction is "it would have cost that much anyway". Unless I'm missing something (and that's very possible) the money that has to be paid is an unpaid debt, not new costs. I don't think there is much talk of huge damages arising here.

Maybe if the media questioned the wisdom of a government running nursing homes then I'd take more interest, but what we have here is a credit card bill that we lost and now has to be paid. It's annoying, but it's hardly earth-shattering.

One other aspect of this story is that I haven't found a single mention of it on any Irish blog. There must be some blog with a mention for this story, but I haven't found it yet. Maybe Irish bloggers in general are bored by these scandals?

UPDATE: At the risk of boring all of you to death, I now see a reason for Minister Martin to resign. He was responsible for expanding the medical card scheme to anyone over 70 (regardless of ability to pay) and, thus, greatly increased the state's liability when it came to nursing home charges. He should have resigned for that idiotic decision before all this, but now that this error has compounded his previous blunder he should fall on his sword.