12:02 p.m. August 7, 2013

Public Private Priests

Print subscribers will already know all about abortion law in Ireland and the various campaigns to amend it one way or the other.

Here's a quick update. A member of the the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital who happens to be a priest says the hospital "cannot complyā€¯ with the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act and thus will not carry out abortions.

A priest carrying out abortions is certainly a tricky one -- but the obvious response is this: if a church wants to preserve its ethos why is it operating public hospitals? Why not operate private charitable ones and let the state run its own public hospitals? Or, if you're so inclined, contract them out to private business (there's no shortage of healthcare companies who'd love to suck on the government tit).

Sometimes I think the Irish state is uniquely incompetent. It can't seem to manage to build anything. Not hospitals, not schools and not even roads. That's right, all of our motorways (freeways to Americans) are tolled because they were built by private finance. (And before libertarians get too excited about that: we didn't even have anything resembling a complete motorway network until the mid-2000s.)

Anyway, getting back to the hospital: if you want to play at cultural separatism that's fine, but you have to disengage from the government payroll. Either the hospital complies with the universal legislation, or it goes private. Simple.