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McGimpsey took right action over swine flu

Back in the early spring of last year certain MLAs, particularly those from the DUP, sought to criticise the Minister for Health, Michael McGimpsey, for his handling of the swine flu epidemic.

Particularly there were criticisms, some implied but others quite open, that the minister had overspent his budget and had over-reacted particularly in the purchase of Tamiflu and H1N1 vaccines. Where are these critics today? Do they still believe, that with 14 deaths associated with H1N1 influenza this year already, that the preparations made last year were wasteful?

Do they still believe that the minister over-reacted?

Now as the chief critics were rival politicians, I'm sure most will forget they ever voiced any criticism, in fact I quite expect the same politicians to criticise the minister this year for under-reacting. But surely Northern Ireland deserves at least some consistency of approach from our political leaders.

Our doctors, nurses, pharmacists and the minister deserve credit; the current handling of the seasonal flu this year has been good. Thankfully, with certain exceptions, politicians have refrained from seeking cheap headlines and ridiculous scare stories but a simple question, particularly to those who criticised the minister last year - will they be as quick this year to praise him and his colleagues as they were last year to criticise him?

Clive Kirkwood



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