Pat Finucane and the Dirty War

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William Crawley | 14:03 UK time, Sunday, 16 December 2012

A victim of the state, murdered, along with a series of others, with the active intelligence and assistance of British military and police officers. That was the verdict of Sir Desmond De Silva's report into the killing of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.

David Cameron gave a fulsome apology -- again -- but clearly wants to draw a line under a murky period in a dirty war. But is justice served by openly admitting a catalogue of state-sponsored law-breaking and then denying full disclosure of that in a public inqury?

Or, as many have said, is it time to put the past into history and move on?

On this week's Sunday Sequence we heard from former Presbyterian Moderator, Dr John Dunlop, security correspondent and author, Brian Rowan, and former Victims' Commissioner, Patricia McBride, but, what do you think?

Open Thread

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William Crawley | 13:09 UK time, Friday, 14 December 2012

talktalk.jpgI don't often post an open thread, but some of you tell me it's a good idea because it lets you get stuff off your chest without throwing the direction of other threads. It also permits you to make suggestions about subjects we might give some more substantial space to on Will & Testament. Let's see. Expatiate at will (sorry about the pun). Keep it legal. The house rules still apply.

The ethics of charging for prescriptions

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William Crawley | 10:18 UK time, Tuesday, 11 September 2012

"The health service can't afford to go on like this. Most must start paying again for their prescriptions." So says Northern Ireland's chief medical officer, Dr Michael McBride. I a wide-ranging interview in today's Belfast Telegraph, Dr McBride said anyone who can afford to pay for prescriptions should pay. He also emphasised that "there should never be any circumstance were someone is discouraged from from taking their medication because of prescription charges."

Pay attention to the moral language used by the chief medical officer: anyone who can pay "should" pay. Is Dr McBride suggesting that some people have a moral obligation to pay, even though they do not have a legal obligation to do so (at present)? Or is he making a more strategic, less ethical, point: we "need" people to pay if the NHS is to provide the services people expect?

What do you think? Do people who can afford to pay prescription charges have a moral obligation to pay? What kind of paying regime is consistent with the basic philosophy of the NHS?

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