A certain MLA, who may or may not be close to me, put a Petition to the Assembly this week with over 10,000 signatures. Its demand was simple – the same access to vital cancer drugs for residents of Northern Ireland as applies in England.
“Ah but the money”, Health Ministers used to say.
Yet Stormont can, according to Jim Allister’s figure, afford 161 Press Officers (actually, 161 people working in the Information Service, but a figure highlighted by the recent appointment of a political Communications Chief). Stormont can also, it turns out, find millions of pounds to give to an American airline without a business case. On top of this, it is now contemplating finding a few more millions to bail out a regional airport which handles no cargo at all, instead of simply improving infrastructure to the city it serves. This is not to mention the millions wasted on training teachers we do not need or other kinds of segregated services, nor indeed money allocated to Investment Funds which fail to function.
“Ah but the money” nothing. The money exists, if the Executive chooses to spend it on things other than making itself look good. The Opposition should never hesitate to point it out.