The Wrongs of the Rialtas

It is safe to say a government is the most controversial, independent body in our society. An important aspect of the government’s role is to try and please the majority of the population in order for them to remain in government. Since this tactic is common knowledge, it proves to be a challenging task to trust whether or not the government’s intentions are pure. It’s important to criticise the government, why would society enforce a democracy if the government couldn’t be exposed to some constructive criticism? In this article, I will outline some of the more pertinent shortcomings being third-level education and healthcare. Though this headline may seem broad, it is crucial that the primary, more critical problems are addressed.

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Third-Level Education

One of the most prevalent examples of the government’s incompetence can be seen with the current state of the third-level education system. The government of Ireland have failed to provide adequate support to younger generations as they progress through this system. A child’s birth is recorded within days of the child being born meaning the government has at least 18 years to plan for the child’s future in third-level education, yet they continually fail to provide a sufficient number of college places for these children. It is said that 20% of students on programmes provided by the CAO drop out each year due to scarcity of offers and being forced into unsuitable courses.

However, society can see these disappointing outcomes in third-level accommodation also. According to the Union of Students Ireland president, Clare Austick, the student accommodation crisis is “worse than ever” with students “facing the deferring of college places, dropping out, couch surfing or living in hostels” as a result of the Government’s failure to fulfil the basic necessities of these third-level students. Trinity College Dublin has  even adopted the slogan of “No Keys, No Degrees”. I believe this crisis has arisen and worsened, consequently, of the government’s negligence to this pressing issue of young people and their families. According to a study conducted by the University College Cork, over 28% of students declared that they were over €1,000 per month in rent. Students are often forced into private accommodation due to the unavailability of publicly-funded accommodation. This dramatically increases the expense imposed on Irish students. 50% of these students declared that they were living in private accommodation. As noted by the University times, private accommodation will remain the fastest to build, because it entices private investors with guaranteed returns annually.

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Another sector that the government has failed to adequately address is healthcare. The government are distinctly aware of the demographic by the census that is completed every four years. From these statistics, they know the average amount of hospital beds needed regionally. Somehow there is still a thriving trolley crisis that prevails throughout the year and is now a permanent fixture in Irish hospitals. As of January 2023, over 11,289 patients were without a bed. This act of mismanagement under the Department of Health continues to cripple both the HSE’S ability to provide aid and assistance and their credibility to the population

Plans were established in 2019 to build a new children’s hospital which would consist of joining Temple Street hospital, Crumlin Children’s hospital, part of Tallaght hospital and St. James’s hospital. The final projected cost of the project settled at over €2 billion– making it the most expensive children’s hospital in the world. One would imagine it would be a safe assumption to say that this could dramatically relieve the pressure of providing children’s beds in Irish hospitals- when this could not be further from the truth. No additional beds are provided with the establishment of this children’s hospital. In a country with a population growing by an average 1% each year, this brittle health system we have is destined to break further as result of this negligence.

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Future Planning

Now that some of the more pertinent downfalls of the government have been outlined, how should the government proceed in the future? In my opinion, the government need to focus on resolving the main obstacles currently facing the people of Ireland. It is a lack of forecasting that results in the nation encountering these events and would help avoid crisis in the future. The Irish government have a tendency to treat sources like the CSO as an archive and use this data to gather details from the past rather than focusing on projections of the future. Economists use historical data as means of forecasting future economical data such as interest rates, inflation etc. Why can’t the government apply these practises to combat the various issues Ireland, as a country, is currently enduring and is likely to encounter in the future?

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