I started to read a book.

(It’s not by and not about Leo Varadkar, the Irish Minister for Health. There’s more about him further on:).

What’s so special about reading a book you might ask. The thing is that I don’t even manage to read the paper anymore (although I still buy them from time to time, being the eternal optimist I am).

But I had 30 minutes between trains in Hamburg Hauptbahnhof and there was this bookshop. I decided I would buy “Irre – Wir behandeln die Falschen” by Manfred Lütz, the man I heard the other day on the radio. They had one copy left. If that wasn’t a sign of something!

Unfortunately, the trip wasn’t long enough for me to finish it (and now I fear that life might take over again before I do), but what I read so far was really good.

There is one thought he presents that he feels really uncomfortable with, and so do  I. It’s not his thought.

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It’s one by psychiatrists Hoche and Binding from the 1920s who supported euthanasia so that society would not have to carry the burden of (mentally) sick people. – A thought not just taken up, but put into practice by the nazis.

It’s one introduced by Nobel Prize winner Watson. Watson proposed that parents of lower intelligence should pay a higher tax if they had children since these children would put a higher burden on society.

The idea is that not all people are equal. The idea is that people have no equal rights. The idea is that not all people should have appropriate access to (health) care. The idea is that not all people should be integrated equally in society. The idea is that not all people should have a “life”.

Sounds familiar? Sounds familiar.

Can’t wait to get really going on An Saol. But we have to get that apartment in Hamburg sorted first and also get Pádraig home. It doesn’t sound like much, but it is *really* complicated.

I am so happy to be back. Hamburg and the apartment were too unreal without Pádraig. It was an empty, deserted place.

Pat has been telling me about the visits he had, about the progress on the plan to get him home, on the therapies he’s getting, on the daily struggle looking after him in a place where he shouldn’t really be anymore.

This morning, I listened to a report on Morning Ireland, RTÉ Radio One, just before the 08:30 news, about the Cross Border Directive.

Nothing got to do with the “North” this time, but with a European Directive that was implemented recently in Ireland which allows you to choose where you are going to be treated within the European Union – including dental treatment, including hip replacements, AND including physio, OT, and speech & language therapy. The HSE will pay for it as long as you are a public patient and as long as the treatment is (at least in theory) available in Ireland.

They interviewed Leo Varadkar, the Irish Minister for Health, who said that he whole-heartedly supported the scheme because it would allow not just for people to get the treatment they needed when they needed it, but it would also allow him to make a case for an increase in the health budget so that people would be able to get the treatment they needed in Ireland, rather than having to travel abroad. – It doesn’t make sense to say there is no money available to spend on treatment here, and then give the money to people for treatment to spend it abroad, he said.

He’s got a point.

Sounds like we got ourselves a new supporter for An Saol!