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‘My mes­sage very clearly to any­one in­volved in this row that I am read­ing about in the papers, put your egos to one side, get in a room and sort this out... What I will not do is al­low the pos­si­bil­ity of de­liv­er­ing a new ma­ter­nity hospi­tal to be jeop­ar­dised by rows over gov­er­nance and fief­dom.’

The dispute be­tween mem­bers of man­age­ment of St Vin­cent’s Hospi­tal and the Na­tional Ma­ter­nity Hospi­tal at Holles Street cen­tres on gov­er­nance of the new fa­cil­ity. The ex­ist­ing build­ing is con­sid­ered to be no longer fit for pur­pose.

In his col­umn in the Sun­day Inde- pen­dent, Min­is­ter Ross men­tioned his work in jour­nal­ism re­gard­ing semi-State com­pa­nies.

‘I sud­denly re­called that my views on semis­tates in per­ma­nent con­va­les­cence – like CIÉ – are well-doc­u­mented, that I wrote a whole chap­ter in a book about the very strange go­ings-on in Iarn­ród Éire­ann, that I once sug­gested that all fares should be re­stricted to €1 and that there should be whole­sale culling of the boards of quan­gos. I am re­ally look­ing for­ward to my first meet­ing with some of the or­gan­i­sa­tions which have re­ceived harsh crit­i­cism in this col­umn,’ he wrote. I’VE been told by my chil­dren this week­end that I com­plain a lot.

Their fa­ther is al­ways grumpy and I’m al­ways com­plain­ing, ap­par­ently. Not ex­actly the Gold Stan­dard in par­ent­ing are we? Then I thought, if I had told my par­ents they were grumpy and moany when I was a kid, I’d prob­a­bly have got­ten a clip round the ear. There is such a thing as teach­ing kids to ex­press them­selves too much. Quite of­ten I wish mine would keep their opin­ions to them­selves.

And to be fair I’ve had rea­son to com­plain re­cently. You see I haven’t been well. I haven’t been well for at least two months. And when I’m not well, I tend not to keep it to my­self. I like to share the mis­ery.

Per­son­ally, although I have no med­i­cal ev­i­dence to prove this fact, I think it all goes back to me giv­ing up the fags. I haven’t been right since. I’ve been told I have vi­ral in­fec­tions, flus and bugs and that it will all pass. My doc­tor is sick too, – sick of the sight of me be­cause ev­ery time I turn up in her surgery I have a dif­fer­ent self di­ag­no­sis.

I’ve taken an­tibi­otics, in­halers, multi vi­ta­mins, pro­bi­otics and ton­ics and I’m still as rough as a bad­gers back­side but no­body is pay­ing me the slight­est bit of at­ten­tion.

My dad rings me when he’s away on a trip and asks me how I am.

‘I’m not a bit well and if I die be­fore you get back, you’ll know I was telling the truth’ I tell him.

‘Right. Sure I’ll talk to you to­mor­row’ and he hangs up.

As for Him­self. Not a hope of any sym­pa­thy from him. His bed­side man­ner con­sists of telling you to slap a load of Su­docrem on and you’ll be grand. I go back to google and tell him I think I have Lyme Dis­ease. I have most of the symp­toms.

He looks up from the soc­cer match he’s watch­ing and says, ‘ have you been bit­ten by a tick?’

I can’t re­call but maybe what I thought was a hive the other day was ac­tu­ally a tick bite I tell him. I’m not even sure what a tick is, or whether they ex­ist in Ire­land but at this point I’m des­per­ate for a de­fin­i­tive di­ag­no­sis so I can val­i­date my moan­ing. He turns up the vol­ume on the telly and ig­nores me. ‘Did you just hear what I said? I could be se­ri­ously ill and you’re more in­ter­ested in Le­ices­ter City win­ning the cup!’

‘If you are do you think they might se­date you for a while? Just to give us a bit of a break?’ He’s laugh­ing but I de­tect a sin­is­ter un­der­tone.

If I dis­ap­pear over the next few weeks, make sure to look un­der the pa­tio!

Min­is­ter Simon Har­ris

Min­is­ter Shane Ross

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