On Tuesday Taoiseach treated Dáil for a bad pre-season song from The Twelve Days of Christmas. With a medical touch. It goes down like a brown Santa on a boiling radiator.
Leo Varadkar's version only had five days right in it and he loudly blamed doctors and nurses for running away with the other seven.
Fortunately he was not there to receive notifications from critics personally. Hot Leo geyser was in Helsinki on what appeared to be a photography workshop, posing with the Finnish prime minister in many different locations while not being able to find a photogenic deer in a high-vis jacket because he had to leave Eoghan Murphy at home.
The TD opposition was impatient to stage his performance and was very disappointed when the Minister of Agriculture appeared to accept brickbats on behalf of his boss.
Michael Creed, who seldom ventures from his departmental habitat, has several urban deputies who study it with attraction.
So that's a farm friend? What is the sound like? Will we understand it? Does he sleep on the bed or perch somewhere? Did he just appear from the hibernation period?
The credo is very low. Unless it is subsidies, silage, or suckers, he prefers to continue work and avoid the media spotlight.
But Michael is a clever operator. He is good at talking and smart and not easily upset. On Wednesday at Dáil, Opposition TDs may have also spoken to the wall while trying to get a raise from him by attacking Taoiseach for attacking doctors and nurses.
Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, Labor, and People Before Profit queued to complain about Leo's statement the day before in response to questions from Micheál Martin about the HSE Winter Plan.
After a standard statistical exposition, Taoiseach stated that this plan had not reached much for many years because the hospital was effectively closed for most of the Christmas period. Seven out of twelve days, entering the New Year, he said.
"We need to change that. We need to make sure, for the first time, that during that period the radiology department and the laboratory will be open and fully working, that consultants will not vacation in the first week of this year, especially those working in emergency departments, and nurses it won't take time off in the first two weeks of January. "
David Cullinane from Sinn Féin (who replaced Mary Lou McDonald) thought Taoiseach's words were embarrassing. His attack on nurses and doctors was "an attempt to revenge mistakes" because the hospital was jostling away from its own records in the Ministry of Health, along with the performance of its current Government and Minister.
The Lesser-Spotted Creed calmly answered with a straight face.
What is Cullinane about? Its leaders strongly support frontline workers and support staff.
"Far from degrading them, the challenge posed by Taoiseach yesterday was HSE management."
"He didn't say that," said Brendan Howlin.
The problem is that the Creed is appeased, we need the right management of HSE so that "human resources" are managed as efficiently as possible.
The Féin Sinn man is suitable to tie. "I sat here yesterday and I listened to what the Taoiseach said and it was a million miles away from the response you gave today. He doesn't talk about managers in health services, he talks about leave for nurses and doctors. "
The minister doesn't know where he got the idea.
Then Brendan Howlin confirmed that Leo said what he said about doctors and nurses, after 39 years, "made a surprising discovery that Christmas came every December". Although there may be room to change roster at Christmas time, it is a matter of "management" that needs negotiations with the union "and not by abusing people either in this house or in the public airwaves".
Bríd Smith talked about the lack of nurses, especially in the emergency department. Hospitals cannot maintain it because of low pay.
"Nurses still work shifts for every eight weeks and they stick to their crawl. That night they had to enter and work all night and absolutely zero for that. No one in this house will do that. In fact, I think that we pay too much for what we do compared to the low wages they get for what they do. "
A credo that is not deterred and expressly outlined by the Government.
Smith says certain specialties have been offered an additional € 7 a week – "You won't buy two pints of beer with that salary increase. This is an absolute insult to them. "
His statement sparked interest from deputies on all sides. The male crowd rose when the deputies discussed the price of two pints.
Ceann Comhairle had to hit his gong to restore order.
Cork is full
Meanwhile, leader Fianna Fáil – whose initial question sparked controversy – was trapped in it. Taoiseach "in an unclear response" told him "that it was all a nurse's fault, it was the fault of the consultants. He insulted the people on the front lines – that's the point, "said Micheál Martin, trying hard to get to that stage, where his voice was full of Cork.
"I asked where was the plan. 'Don't mind your plan!' He asked. ‘Don't mind the plan I made,’ – he talked about his own plan! He said the plans for the past six years were of no use. That's more or less what he said! "
When Michelle thundered, Marc MacSharry sat behind him, arms folded, face serious in his place, nodding his head with a frightening intensity.
These workers deserve to apologize from the Government, said Martin. And, by the way, when will we see this plan?
Creed quietly retaliated with his understanding of exchanges. "I really appreciate that it is politics to play what the Taoiseach says to fit the political narrative."
"Read," Martin shouted.
"I was here yesterday, like you, Deputy," a leaning creep.
"You should know, so," Timmy Dooley shouted.
"I appreciate you having a special narrative that you would love to play, and that's fine, but Taoiseach doesn't blame the doctor or nurse," the Minister said shamelessly, when the room was filled with steam from Fianna Fáil's ears.
"Are you going to get out of the fog, for God's sake?" Timmy exclaimed desperately.
All Taoiseach said that the "critical mass" of staff must be on duty. That's not an unreasonable Creed.
Poor Micheál is suitable to be tied up. "But they work at Christmas. Do you not know that? Nurses and doctors work every Christmas. Who turned on the lights? "
"I appreciate that," the Minister whispered.
Micheál sighed heavily. "Aaaah, come on."
Not. Not. Wait.
"What Taoiseach is doing is challenging HSE management to ensure. . . "Start Creed.
"He challenges nurses and doctors!" Timmy shouted, getting a blank stare in return.
Fianna Fáil continued to roar. Michael Creed continues to belittle.
State Minister Patrick O’Donovan grinned on the floor in the leader of Fianna Fáil.
"It's much better when you are here."