SLÁINTE!

Tá mé i mo shuí anseo, agus mo chos dheis i bplástar. Tá na maidí croise in aice leis an tábla. Tá cupán deas tae agam. Tá mo bhean chéile faoi mo cheann agus faoi mo chois. Go bhfága Dia a sláinte aici. Ach ná bígí buartha: beidh mé ar mo sheanléim roimh i bhfad. Ná cuirigí níos mó cártaí. Tá fear an phoist tuirseach traochta. Tharla sé go simplí. Bhí mé ag rith, thuisligh mé, chuala mé cnag – agus sin é. Bhí orm dul chuig an dochtúir agus ansin chuig an ospidéal, cinnte. Caithfidh mé a rá go bhfuair mé aireacht thar barr – ó mo dhochtúir féin go dtí foireann na hotharlainne. Bhí achan duine feifeach, cineálta agus thar a bheith proifisiúnta. Ba chóir dúinn bheith buíoch den NHS anseo sa Tuaisceart. Níl an tseirbhís foirfe, cinnte, ach cá mbeimis gan í? Mo thrua mo chairde agus mo ghaolta in Inis Eoghain: bíonn orthu dul go Leitir Ceanainn, go Sligeach agus go Baile Átha Cliath fá choinne leighis. Ba chóir don Rialtas ó dheas feabhas a chur ar an tseirbhís sláinte nuair a bhí an Tíogar Ceilteach ag búireadh. Ach, sin ráite, tá Rialtas na Breataine ag iarraidh an NHS a bhaint anuas. Go híorónta, chonaic muid Aire Aontachtach, Micheál Mac Dhíomsaigh, ag iarraidh muid a chosaint ó chiorruithe sa tSeirbhís Sláinte sa bhuiséad náireach sin ar na mallaibh. Tá na seirbhísí poiblí eile faoi bhagairt. Beidh an córas oideachais ag fulaingt. Tá an Stát Leasa Shóisialaigh faoi ionsaí. Agus fán go bhfeicfidh sibh: beidh rátaí uisce againn roimh i bhfad. Cuirfidh siad cáin ar an aer más féidir. Agus ná creid an finscéal faoi easpa airgid: tá níos mó ná 250,000 milliúnaí sa Bhreatain. Níl a fhios agam an méid coileán a d’fhag an Tíogar ina dhiaidh sa Phoblacht. Anois, ar mhaith leis na sóisialaithe sa Tionól a bheith ina seasamh, le bhur dtoil?

HEALTH / CHEERS!

I am sitting here with my right foot in plaster. The crutches are next to the table. I am having a nice cup of tea. My wife is waiting on me hand and foot. God bless her. But don’t worry: I’ll be back to my old self soon. Don’t send any more cards. The postman is exhausted. It happened very simply. I was running, I stumbled, I heard a crack, and that was that. I had to go to the doctor and then to the hospital, of course. I must say that I got first class attention – from my own doctor and from the hospital staff. Everyone was attentive, kind and very professional. We should be grateful for the NHS here in the North. The service is not perfect, of course, but where would we be without it? I feel sorry for my friends and relations in Inis Eoghain: they have to go to Letterkenny, Sligo or Dublin for treatment. The Government in the South should have improved the health service when the Celtic tiger was roaring. But having said that, the British Government is trying to dismantle the NHS. Ironically, we saw a Unionist Minister, Michael McGimpsey, trying to protect us from the cutbacks in that recent disgraceful budget. The other public services are under threat. The education system will suffer. The Welfare State is under attack. Just wait and see: we will have water rates before long. They will tax the air that you breathe if they can. And don’t believe the tall story about lack of money: there are more than 250,000 millionaires in Britain. I don’t know how many cubs the Tiger left behind in the Republic. Now, could the socialists in the Assembly please stand up?