Evidence shows no benefit from prescription charges

Mary Harney says prescription charges will raise money and "discourage the overuse of medication". By Sara Burke.

Ten years ago Mary Harney, then tánaiste and minister of trade, enterprise and employment made her political position clear.

"Geographically," she said, "we are closer to Berlin than Boston. Spiritually, we are probably a lot closer to Boston than Berlin." She firmly articulated the then government's chosen economic model which "had a clear tax-cutting agenda" and went on to say that "this model works".

Rude health I: Mary Harney must go

Mary Harney is a politician without a party, a minister without a mandate. She has been in government for 13 years, the Minister for Health for nearly six years. Despite the demise of the PDs, their ideology prevails. The Minister does not understand that free market economics does not apply to running a health service. By Sara Burke.

Mary Harney has overseen the most 'radical' reform of the Irish health system since 1970 with the foundation of the HSE.

No excuse for cuts in respite care or disability services

People with disabilities and their carers indict the government's lack of support for their needs during recent protests. By Sara Burke.

As people with disabilities and their families marched outside the Dail on July 7, those listening to the speeches inside heard reassurances from the Taoiseach and Ministers Harney and Maloney that no respite services for people with disabilities have been cut. If we are to believe our political leaders, why did thousands of people take to the streets on July 7 in Dublin, Galway and Castlebar?

Reilly rises but FairCare lacks detail

Fine Gael's plans for reforming the healthcare system seem well-intentioned, but are unrealistic. By Sara Burke.

James Reilly has been rewarded for his staunch defence of Enda Kenny in the Fine Gael heave by his ascension to Deputy Leader of the party and reappointment to the front bench in health. So what does Fine Gael’s James Reilly stand for and what would Fine Gael’s health policy mean to the Irish people?

Good and bad in new prescription laws

The political drive to use more generic and cheaper drugs will be good for the public purse. But imposing prescription charges on medical card holders is wrong. By Sara Burke.

Inquiries but no clarity on missing €2.35m

HSE and Dept of Health are ultimately responsible for unaccounted €2.35m. By Sara Burke.

So what has happened to the €2.35m of public money that was channelled through the HSE to the Siptu union?

HSE chief Brendan Drumm says he has no idea.

Siptu say they never received that money.

What was this fund for, how was it spent and why on earth did no state agency take responsibility for the annual €250,000 fund over eight years?

New HSE boss and cancer chief appointed

The roles of HSE CEO and cancer chief have recently been filled by Cathal Magee and Susan O'Reilly, whose combined experience indicates interesting times ahead for the health service. By Sara Burke.

Two of the most senior health service posts have been filled in the last couple of weeks. Cathal Magee is the new HSE CEO, while Canadian Susan O’Reilly is the new cancer chief. So what's the word on the new HSE managers?

Protecting children key to social change

If one lesson has been learned in the recent weeks, it is clear we need to prioritise our children. By Sara Burke.

How come we still don’t know how many children died in care?

Why is it, ten years on from the publication of the national children’s strategy ‘Our Children – their lives’, we are still listening to political squabbles over the poor state of our child protections services? Quite simply, there is no priority given to children by the State, particularly those who need its help most.

HPV vaccine off to a good, albeit jumpy, start

The cervical cancer vaccine is finally being rolled-out for Irish first-year girls after much uncertainty. By Sara Burke.

This week the HSE started vaccinating first year students in 20 schools around the country with the HPV vaccine. The HPV vaccine is part of a national programme to prevent cervical cancer.

The vaccine was initially recommended by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), but famously in the last few months Mary Harney withdrew the programme, before re-announcing it in the last few weeks.