During yesterday's Dáil debate on Risk Equalisation, Mary Harney, referring to statistics showing that approximately 50% of people in the State have private health insurance, stated (paraphrasing): "This is a good thing. It demonstrates the rise in disposable income."

My God, woman, what planet are you on? People aren't taking out private insurance because they can afford to with all their extra dosh. They're taking it out because they are scared to death of getting sick and having to go on a long waiting list for treatment, or lie on a hospital trolley for three weeks.

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