An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern TD, shares a cup of tea with well-wishers during a recent visit to North Tipperary.Bertie Ahern said today September 5th that he was "appalled" at the crisis in A&E that led to people sleeping on trolleys.
Speaking on the second day of Fianna Fáil's annual meeting in Westport, Co Mayo, Ahern said: "It gave me no satisfaction last year to see the fact that we were spending almost €13 billion in health, and I heard that people couldn't get a blanket or were sleeping on trolleys.
"That appalled me and rather than being appalled like everyone else I had to get out and do something about it."
He told RTÉ radio that health was the topic of discussion for the party and that they were "trying to get community medicine, put more resources in for the elderly people and trying to do more in the National Treatment Fund.
"If we can solve them all this winter, I don't know. But the sure thing is we have to solve them over the next few years, that's important."
With the general election campaign underway, we are already hearing a great deal about big plans for the future.
Minister for Finance Brian Cowen's claim that the plan to invest €3.8 billion in R&D in the period to 2013, will result in the creation of 500,000 jobs is let's say kindly, a little optimistic.
Only if we could have the equivalent of property booms in other sectors of the economy!
The free lunch has yet to be invented and almost 90% of Irish exports are made by foreign firms. As we ramp up R&D spending from a low base, the rest of the world will hardly be asleep at the switch.
One striking statistic is that less than €200 million in venture capital investment, will be made in Irish firms in 2006. In contrast, the Cosgrave family that is involved in property development in the Dublin area, have invested €650 million in UK property in the first seven months of 2006.
Last year, a total of $2.7 billion in venture capital investment, was made in Israeli companies.
Check out what is the current record on long-term reform!!