A need to finally combat bureaucratic inertia

 

ON THE COUCH:Georgina Wade is chairwoman of the Cleft Lip and Palate Association of Ireland

Family/personal:

Married to Jim, daughters Rebekah (14) and Molly (11).

Which living person do you most admire and why?

The public figure I most admire is Aung San Suu Kyi from Burma. I admire her leadership, her commitment to peace and justice and the self-sacrifice she has made for the last 20 years.

Of people I know, my dad is right up there, on the eve of his 75th birthday this month he climbed Carrauntoohil via Caher (one of the hardest routes).

What do you regard as the top three problems facing Ireland's health system?

Making the patient the centre of the system, getting the vision for primary care implemented faster and finally combating bureaucratic inertia and bungling - next month, children will start school unable to talk properly because they have not had the speech language therapy they need, while this month we hear that students who have spent the last three years of their lives studying to become speech language therapists cannot get jobs.

What is your greatest extravagance?

I am partial to nice jewellery.

What is your most unhealthy habit?

Reading into the small hours.

How do you relax?

Swimming in the Forty Foot or watching a movie with my daughters. I also enjoy being part of a local Irish book club.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Bruce Springsteen, Mary Black, Brendan Gleeson, Marian Finucane, Billy Connolly, Dame Judi Dench John Simpson.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Sitting at my mother's kitchen table, having one of Mum's great "fork-ins" with family and friends, everybody talking nine to the dozen and, of course, the best bit is Mum's apple pie with cream!

What trait do you most value in your friends?

Integrity and good conversation.

What talent would you most like to have?

A good singing voice with a photographic memory for lyrics.

Do you use alternative/ complementary medicines or therapies?

Yes, I am open to them, but our family GP is still the most valued person. I use herbal remedies and crania osteopathy.

What is your earliest memory?

My earliest distinct memory is of going for walks with my granddad Mac.

I'd undo his shoelaces and he'd pretend to have fallen over. I still smile when I think about it.

What is your most treasured possession?

Collections of sentimental bits and pieces I have kept over the years, like the ticket stub of my first movie date with my husband.

What other career might you have chosen?

My full-time job is in IT but I came very close to training for teaching.

What books or films have inspired you?

Books that have inspired me are Gone with the Wind, David Copperfieldand The Big Fella. I don't know about films, but I'd say the TV series Strumpet City.

• In conversation with Fiona Tyrrell