Last week I spent most of my time looking in to the HSE's purchase of stretchers valued at ¤850,000 which turned out to be unsuitable and had to be replaced or modified almost straight away. The company which makes the stretchers are a company called Ferno.
The stretchers were part of a deal that the HSE made with WAS, a German company, who have supplied the HSE's new ambulances - three of which burst in to flames recently.
One of the most interesting things we found out was that Frank McClintock, the man in charge of the HSE's national ambulance service, had recently spent a week in the Renaissance hotel in Las Vegas courtesy of Ferno. McClintock was attending an emergency services exposition in Vegas at the time.
The HSE say there is nothing untoward about McClintock enjoying a week in Vegas courtesy of Ferno because McClintock had nothing to do with the tender process or the decision to award the contract through which the HSE purchases millions of euro worth of Ferno stretchers.
The HSE says because McClintock won the trip to Vegas in a competition in his own spare time there is no issue.
Still, the HSE's employee handbook has very clear rules on its employees accepting gifts.
"An Employee may not solicit or accept, directly or indirectly from any person, firm or association, anything of economic value such as a gift, gratuity or favour which might reasonably be interpreted as being of such nature that it could affect his/her impartiality in dealing with the donor."
Dipping in to politics, Fianna Fail are looking for four candidates willing to spend ¤250,000 each in this summer's European election. Last time round the biggest declared spenders were actually two Fine Gaelers. Packie Bonner, the former Irish goalie and a childhood hero of mine, is being pushed as a possible FF candidate in the huge North West constituency. Bonner works for the FAI and right now he seems to have no interest in running for election and putting himself through all the rigmarole that entails.