You've won the Irish Sweepstakes - The outsourcing of responsibility in south Ireland.
I just saw this article was posted on the Sinn FEin Keep Left blog. The way they see it the sweepstakes scandals were a warning of how the Irish state was failing to do its job. Are they right or wrong?
When the saorstát was set up the new administration choose the least path of resistance when it came to the provision of a number of important services. Two fundamental services necessary for the development of a state where effectively devolved from state control - Education and Health. While there may have been a reason at the start to do so to allow this to continue for decades was a serious failure of State responsibility and helped create or perpetuate a state not able to identify its responsibilities and act on them.
Significant elements of Health care was provided by a mix of hospitals predominantly ran by the catholic church, with some few provided by the protestant churches and some intermittent, and resisted, state oversight. However while both voluntary hospitals resisted the state they accepted its funding as and when needed. The saorstat was naturally in a financially weakened state considering the turbulent times it had passed through. Due to a low population base and a weakened economy it had difficulty raising the necessary funds to support hospitals. The answer was the Irish hospital sweepstakes - a state monopoly on lottery i.e a gambling racket - not that I dont have anything against a flutter but you'd think churches would. The sweepstakes was an okay idea in the sense that it managed to extend the funding of hospitals beyond the limited population of the saorstát with significant funds coming from abroad. It was a bad idea in that it was used to fund institutions which were not under the absolute control of the state but were the equivalent of privatised institutions. Mary Harney would have liked the idea - State money to support non-state monopolies of critical services.