Tánaiste and Minister for Health Mary Harney has urged some beneficiaries of the €1 billion nursing home rebates to consider donating the money for improved health services for the elderly and the disabled.
The option of donating the money was included in legislation published yesterday providing for compensation for 80,000 elderly people who were illegally charged for beds in public nursing homes. Irish Times, March 17.
Hmm ... call me cranky, but isn't that a little like a thief asking for the money he or she stole to be donated for building better prisons?
I know that many people would be thinking of making such donations anyhow, but asking for them is a bit rich ... especially in a week when many old people in state nursing homes have just been given big backdated bills for their care since the controversy blew up, and the homes stopped accepting payments until they could be legalised.
And the care bills are now four times what they used to be before all this happened ...
Ms Harney was speaking from South Africa, where she was representing the country on St Patrick's Day. With practically every Government minister out of the country for the occasion except 'hands up' Willie O'Dea, one even as far as New Zealand, it would be interesting to know how much all this gallivanting cost? What good that money could have done in the public nursing homes, providing a few more resources for the wonderful people who look after the elderly in them.
Besides, don't we have ambassadors in all those countries to represent us?