There is a dis­con­nect in this coun­try be­tween the pow­ers that be and the rest of us

Irish Independent - Weekend Review - - FRONT PAGE -

play­book — ex­press re­gret, deny all re­spon­si­bil­ity and then refuse to step down be­cause you want to sort it out.

But this didn’t just land on an un­sus­pect­ing O’Brien’s desk one morn­ing.

As far back as 2008, Dr David Gib­bons of the Na­tional Cer­vi­cal Screen­ing Pro­gramme, was warn­ing about the dan­gers of out­sourc­ing smear tests and the pos­si­bil­ity of missed cases or mis­di­ag­nosed can­cer.

Dr Gib­bons brought his con­cerns to the head of the Na­tional Screen­ing Ser­vice and was so ap­palled at the in­dif­fer­ent re­sponse that he re­signed in protest.

The head of the Na­tional Screen­ing Ser­vice at the time? Take a bow, Tony O’Brien.

It’s of­ten said that we live in a two-tier society and when it comes to ac­cept­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity, that is def­i­nitely the case.

It seems ob­vi­ous that if any­thing of the kind had oc­curred in a pri­vate com­pany, heads would have rolled and Tony O’Brien would have been the first to go.

It was an­nounced yes­ter­day that he is to ‘take a leave of ab­sence’ from the board of Evofem Bio­sciences, the US firm he joined ear­lier this year.

This will pro­vide lit­tle con­so­la­tion to those af­fected, and it merely raises ques­tions about why the head of the HSE was al­lowed to dou­ble job.

At the time of writ­ing, he was still hang­ing on to his €190k day job.

No doubt his ex­pres­sions of re­morse are sin­cere, but it’s hard to muster much em­pa­thy for a man who first heard about such a pos­si­bil­ity a decade ago.

Leo Varad­kar told the Dáil that: “This isn’t just about tar­get­ing in­di­vid­u­als or look­ing for heads to roll.”

Why not? The peo­ple call­ing for heads to roll aren’t some Twit­ter mob of­fended by loose words.

They’re women who have suf­fered at the hands of their own na­tion’s health ser­vice. Had they had re­ceived the correct re­sults at the time, they could have taken mea­sures to save them­selves ear­lier.

Peo­ple are an­gry, but worse than that, they’re scared and they have to cope with the hideous pos­si­bil­ity that they have been sim­ply left to die. Will heads roll? Un­likely. That’s just not how it’s done in Of­fi­cial Ireland...

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.