Roy and the Dublin baby-snatchers


In my experience,  people hate mergers. When I was working for the Ulster Polytechnic and we merged with the New University of Ulster to become the University of Ulster (a lollipop if you spotted the word common to all three titles),  a lot of my colleagues were very critical of the union, as were many of the people working in NUU. But it happened because it made sense. 

All that’s worth keeping in mind as we listen to the words of Ulster Unionist Roy Beggs. Roy professes to be very worried about the transfer of children’s heart surgery from Belfast to Dublin. Here’s an example of Mr Beggs’s argument:

“Whether or not the surgery was required in 24 or 48 hours, surgery was still required and therefore should be retained in Belfast.”

I expect you spotted the logic in that argument? No? Me neither. The fact is, the future of children’s heart services is  being looked at by an international independent panel which will announce its conclusions in July. Which raises the question: why then is Roy citing various incidents of seriously ill babies, with the strong implication that if they don’t get their failing hearts attended to in Belfast, they will die?  Why not leave it to the independent panel? Well it’s obvious.  He wants to create a climate where it’s very difficult for the independent panel to come up with a conclusion that says yes, it makes sense to have a centre in Dublin rather than trying to keep going in Belfast. Every touching story that can be dragged  in to touch the public’s heart-strings (no pun intended) will be valuable to Roy and those who want to resist change and keep all services in Belfast.

And why would they want to do that? (I’m tempted just to leave it with the words “Ha ha”  but I won’t.) It’s because it’s a startlingly-clear example of how duplication of health services north and south of the border makes no sense. If the conclusion is that child heart surgery should be based in Dublin, people might begin to ask “And what other services would make sense to have in one place, whether that be Belfast or Dublin?” And inevitably they’d find that there were duplications all over the place, especially for people living in border areas.

Which in case you hadn’t noticed, Virginia, is one of the central arguments put forward by those who say a united Ireland makes economic sense. That’s why Roy is in there fighting. It’s like the  time Martin McGuinness was made Minister for Education: “They’re putting our children in the care of that man!” Now they’re planning to take our babies from us!  Stand by for an election slogan: “Defend your baby: keep Ulster British!”

11 Responses to Roy and the Dublin baby-snatchers

  1. paddykool April 30, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    Jude and Neill :

    Of course Jude has a point , Neili. It’s like that vote against the pope coming to Northern Ireland.. It’s cut from the same twisted yarn .No rational explanation is ever offered for these mad views. The only conclusion anyone can come up with for public consumption is “We don’t like it!” …it’s like a child with its vegetables !

    Lovely an all as this whole island is …and it is quite beautiful although like anywhere else it’s a shame about some of its denizens {north and south}. The reality is , this is a little pissant island , no bigger than a ranch in Texas which we can drive from end to end in a few hours . It’s about an hour and a half to Dublin from my home. In fact it takes longer getting to some places around Northern Ireland than it does getting to Dublin, so what is wrong with getting an operation done there?
    Jude’s argument is that Unionism has become , and always was, so insular that common sense has been thrown out the window, because by using our southern neighbours’ services we will somehow be admitting that a united Ireland is a desirable option.
    Like the “Pope”vote this is more incoherent scare-mongering which really doesn’t stand up to rational scrutiny.come to think of it , it’s not unlike the very british “gay marriage” thing that was also voted down..Pick and mix britishness again.

    I know , for example, that brother -in-law, who by the way , is an Indian , Hindu medical consultant { a good cultural mix there..neither protestant nor catholic……just for clarity, Neill!} ….when he had his heart -attack and triple by-pass operation , was freighted straight to Dublin for said operation..

    You ‘ll be pleased to hear he made an excellent recovery and still cooks up the best Gobi you’ll ever taste!!

    • Norma wilson April 30, 2014 at 2:51 pm #

      Why stop there, we could close the airports, and maybe the docks. Everything could operate out of Dublin. Oh yes nearly forgot we can throw in Stormont as well.
      We should also start charging for the water up here, if it’s good enough for them…..
      and prescriptions, books etc etc

  2. RJC April 30, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

    God forbid in the event of a blood transfusion, those wee Ulster babies end up pumped full of Fenian blood!

    • ANOTHER JUDE April 30, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

      I thought for a moment there was going to be another `loyalist` day of action(?) when you mentioned closing down everything. Of course it makes sense to operate services on an all island basis, until partition that was the norm.

  3. Argenta April 30, 2014 at 2:35 pm #

    Did I imagine it or was there another response to Jude’s blog this morning when I looked.Maybe it has been removed.

  4. paddykool April 30, 2014 at 4:55 pm #

    Argenta : No …you are not imagining things , nor has someone “spiked” your tea ! {little joke!]..

    Neill actually made a one line comment in which he insulted both Jude’s morality and his intelligence, which is why Jude probably put him on the naughty step to cool off…It’s only a symptom of what goes on in lot of our politics in Northern Ireland, in that insults , lots of noise and old flannel are substituted for rational debate. I think the Nolan show is on tonight so you’ll be able to refresh yourself on that theory , no doubt. Most of our politicians seem to think that we’ll solve our social problems by hurling insults at each other , so it’s no surprise that there’s a trickle- down in similar behaviour on blogs like this…r.

    It was a one-line retort with no qualifying explanation or reasoned argument ..the kind of thing that hangs in the air like an unpleasant stink. I’ve personally tried to point this out to Neil in the past, pointing that perception and truth are two entirely different animals..

    We are having a conversation….not a slagging match down at the pub, in other words….

    Norma :

    Let’s not get carried away here. There’s nothing wrong with having services both in Belfast an in Dublin.We are talking about the duplication of the same services. To give an example. I flew out of Dublin about a week ago because there was no similar flight out of Belfast International to the same place.

    See …no duplication ….

    I will add though that from where I live and with the current road connections , it doesn’t take a lot longer to get to the Dublin Airport than the Belfast one. In fact , the road to Dublin is a much more straight forward route and is possibly safer as it does not wind along a lot of little country roads full of tractors.
    It is an ultra – modern highway . Friends who also travel backwards and forwards to the UK, tell me that a lot of the flights are at much better prices so they pick and choose. i wouldn’t want to close anything in some fit of pique, but this is a very small island and we should all be using its’ assets to the most economical degree .It’s not as if roads and rivers recognise man-made borders either ….

    • Norma wilson April 30, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

      Hi Paddy
      I know I have done it, even straight through from Wicklow. The roads are brilliant, but that does not mean if my husband GOD FORBID took a heart attack I want to travel to Dublin. On a lighter note I love Dublin, the people are different to the crazies up here.
      The people on the Falls and Andersonstown I am pretty sure would not want to travel, if your loved ones were in hospital for months.
      My Mother God rest her, ended up in the (here comes the Protestant in me) Royal Victoria Hospital, with a heart attack, and to the other guy who referred to (Fenion Blood) I would take it as quick as a flash!
      If we keep trying we will get there I am sure, we all are strangers on this island and need to start being friends, and getting to know one another and respecting one another.

  5. neill April 30, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

    I in no way apologize for my line and I would use it again to use an emotive issue to push his political line is appalling and beneath him and he should know better.

    Some of my friends children have had to go through this and this really winds me up.

  6. Pointis April 30, 2014 at 7:56 pm #

    The issue of children’s heart surgery is one being considered not on a purely financial basis but on safety. The Belfast Trust have acknowledged that there is just not the throughput of operations to keep the specialists skills honed. There lies the problem!

    We would all like to have a specialist heart facility at the bottom of our street but it is just not possible nor would it be safe!

    And Neill, it was not Jude who was politicising this important issue but his commentary was on others who cynically chose to try and poison the waters prior to the independent review!

    Maybe Neill you would have the good grace to apologise to Jude and be a bigger man for it!

    • Norma wilson April 30, 2014 at 9:14 pm #

      Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.

  7. Moyra April 30, 2014 at 10:39 pm #

    Hi there Jude.
    Perhaps folk should look past the bluster and have a good long look at some other less fortunate countries where children are indeed left to die. Quite awful that politicians resort to using childrens’ misfortunes to benefit their political point scoring. Worse, is that people fall for it, hook,line and sinker.