Kenny in no position to throw stones
There is a further point and it revolves around the question of whether there is a significant moral difference between killing and letting die.
If you are walking through St Stephen’s Green and see a one-year-old child being thrown into the lake and you do nothing to save the life of that child because you don’t want to dirty your clothes and shoes by going into the lake and rescuing the child, is that significantly morally different from killing the child? Even if there is a significant moral difference, isn’t there something grossly immoral allowing a child to drown in such circumstances?
How much more morally reprehensible is it then to enact policies one knows or should know, from published data, cause the premature death of thousands of people annually in this country?
The Institute of Public Health (an all-Ireland body established under the Belfast Agreement and funded by the British and Irish governments) published a report in 2002 that showed more than 5,000 people died prematurely every year here because of inequality.
It showed that in Northern Ireland and the Republic the “all causes mortality” rate in the lowest occupational class was 100 per cent to 200 per cent higher than the rate in the highest occupational class. For circulatory diseases it was more than 120 per cent higher. For cancers it was more than 100 per cent higher. For respiratory diseases it was more than 200 per cent higher. The incidence of suicide in the lowest occupational class was more than 170 per cent higher than in the case of the highest occupational class: nearly three times higher. And this was not just because the health of people in the lower occupational classes was worse: it was because social conditions generally were worse. In other words, it was because of inequality.
Yes, this report is 10 years old and the data is almost certainly unrepresentative of conditions today. But if there were even a modicum of interest in how government policies were affecting society in this the most fundamental aspect, surely the governments would have been expected to have funded a follow-up study to determine whether the situation was getting worse or better? But no, this State and, one assumes, the British state and the Northern Ireland power-sharing executive have no such interest.
Kenny should desist from stone-throwing.