Mary Harney steps off the stage.

When I heard that Mary Harney had announced her resignation, I immediately logged onto to watch the usual carry-on of the bravely anonymous passing snide remarks about her. She will, of course, never return the favour. After all, why would she, the youngest senator in 1977, first and only female party leader, banisher of smog from Dublin, and the first person in a generation to actually seek out the Health portfolio to want to actually do something with it, want to pass remarks about people whose achievements in life don’t even stretch to having a name they aren’t afraid to use in public?

She has made mistakes, and she was never as radical as I had hoped she would be. But the fact is, Mary Harney has done what people always claim they want Irish politicians to do. Be straight about what they believe in, and attempt to deliver it.¬†As for saying that she was a Thatcherite, I suggest they actually read a bit about Thatcherism. I knew her reasonably well when I was chairperson of the Young PDs, and one thing Mary Harney is not is an ideologue. Just ask the private health insurers. Her opponents nearly always are, but she isn’t. She was always about solutions.

Irish politics has been better for her participation, and I wish her well in the next stage of her life.

2 thoughts on “Mary Harney steps off the stage.

  1. I was sad to see Harney go, but unfortunately she could not deliver the reform need. Which in the HSE is next near impossible. I was hoping she would build the private co-located hospitals around the country and then shut the public hospitals. All future public patients would be treated via the more cost efficient private hospitals at lower cost to the tax payer and better care for the patient. See Galway Clinic as an example of how to run a hospital.

    But with the socialists that are FF in power this was never to happen.

    I’m just sad that her entire career, which was great, has been destroyed by the HSE, the left leaning media and the unions.

  2. Mary Harney was a politician of ability and conviction when most others in Ireland were not though I would not necessarily share some of her convictions and I think that at times she ran with solutions to problems that fit an ideological frame at the outside better than they did the job of delivering the solutions she wanted and then fudge the implementation to preserve the core idea even if it then broke the ideological frame without actually improving the chances of the solutions being delivered. So I suppose for that reason I’d feel more disappointed in her than anything else cos she could have been more and done more in the last decade based on her earlier promise. But I guess that is one of the problems of electoral politics, over time it wears you down.

    Small example, I don’t have a problem with so-called private medicine but I do think that Mary Harney was misguided to facilitate the collocation model based on the public subsidising private efforts through tax breaks and the giving of scarce public lands around the major urban public hospitals. By all means all let private operators if they think they can do it offer a service to the public that they can choose to avail of or not. But to give land to a for profit enterprise that restricts the viability of the public service provider at a cost to the taxpayer is the classic public private mess that allows a private operator take the profitable part of the sector while stiffing the taxpayer with the bill for the loss making part.

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