Won’t someone think of the children?

Blinds down. Curtains drawn.

Only visiting sites that end in .ie or .com – nothing with a .se that could ruin it.

Still it gets in.

The news that Sweden has a new royal baby. And the country’s media embarrasses itself.

Aftonbladet – at times one of the greatest newspapers in the free press, at other times guilty of the worst tabloid excesses- actually has the noise of a baby when you visit their site.

On Twitter, our good friends at Radio Sweden’s English-language service are asking me what I think.

As I don’t have a bag packed and standing in the hall I can’t answer (if I tell them, I doubt I’ll be allowed to stay)

But here goes.

I don’t care.

The reason I don’t care is because hundreds of thousands of kids are born into less-privileged circumstances every day, and I’d prefer to spend my time thinking abou them than a child who, by an accident of birth, will have little to worry about for the rest of its life.

I don’t care because I’d prefer to think about how Ireland, despite the Celtic Tiger years, still failed its children, and cannot now agree on where to build a new national hospital for them as the egos of politicians once again – and as always – take precedence over their rights.

I don’t care because I want to reserve my anger for the idiots who perpetuate this situation, putting themselves ahead of the needs of children in what is surely the ultimate act of selfishness.

I don’t care because I prefer to think of the Irish families who, in the absence of a properly-equipped hospital, are forced onto aeroplanes in their darkest hours and sent to Great Ormond Street or Astrid Lindgrens to get the treatment their children need.

I don’t care because I prefer to think about how we can help these people – dumped in a foreign country with little or no support and a very sick child – to cope with the shock of it all.

I don’t care because I prefer to think how the Irish community in Stockholm this year will support Stiftelsen För Astrid Lindgrens Barnsjukhus, where many seriously ill Irish children have been treated over the years.

Some made it back to Ireland alive. Others didn’t. This is not a fair world we – or they – are born into.

In supporting Astrid Lindgrens, we are supporting a charity also supported by princess Victoria, who this morning gave birth to her own little girl.

In that moment, when they handed her her baby for the first time, I hoped she realised that she can use her position of privilege to make the world a better place for all our children, and not just hers.

And I hope anyone reading this will realise that they can do their bit too, whether it be buying a badge in Stockholm or lobbying a politician in Sligo, or simply holding out a hand of friendship to someone having a tough time.

5 responses to “Won’t someone think of the children?

  1. Well said Phil. People falling over themselves today to ready about the new baby. I must distance myself from all media coverage today because I am furious. Last night I watched children running through the streets of Homs, Grabbing what provisions they could and all the while dodging sniper bullets. THAT is what the media need to be talking about.

  2. I agree with you Phil, but after reading the online papers this morning Im left dumbfounded as to how a 650million investment into a 15 storey childrens hospital will only ammount to 400 beds. That equates to over 1.5 million euro per bed, now I know its not as simple as that but surely they can do more that 400 beds for that money. Plus, I’d love to know how they have already spent millions of euro’s on this without a decision being approved.
    Its beyond stupid, siting reasons of how it would adversely affect the skyline. Who has ever looked up at a city skyline and said “whats the big building there?”, and given an answer of “it’s a childrens hospital” replied with something like “ohhh what an eye sore”!!!!!!!

  3. Phil,

    While I agree with you, unfortunately in this case I also have to agree with An Bord Pleanala. The scheme is poorly considered, planned, executed and totally inappropriate in massing and scale for the site which is already bursting at the seams.

    While a National Children’s hospital is badly needed as are the associated jobs for the design team, construction workers, materials and equipments suppliers etc etc. This is not the way to do it.

    Ultimately millions of euros and several years have been squandered on feasibility studies and ‘independent’ reports by the previous government which was then also sanctioned by our present government. At a minimum it will take a further five more years to agree a suitable action plan, locate appropriate site/sites and get planning permission. Then maybe, just maybe consider going forward to construction stage.

    In the meantime thankfully hospitals in Britain and Sweden are taking in the children that have otherwise been let down by this banana republic.

  4. Valid points all, ladies and gents.
    In fairness I don’t care where they build the hospital (the Mater site is entirely unsuitable for many reasons)- the point is that, despite a fantastic property bubble, perhaps the only thing that didn’t get built was the one thing that could be of long-term value.

  5. I agree with you Phil, think of the jobs, Irish Construction workers want. As you know millons of Euros has been wasted in this country through the misuse of the Public Purse,

    Now the latest tax is this Household Charge, its €100 this year.They say it’s to help provide services in the local area, Well we know better.

    It will be wasted on bailing out banks, developers and other interests thanks to the prevous government who made sure that the TAXPAYER gets hit again, ….

    All this government can think of is to waste more money like previous Government!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s