Eamon Gilmore says no ministerial role in primary care site selection

Thursday 04 October 2012 22.39
Eamon Gilmore said he was assured there was no ministerial involvement in site selection
Eamon Gilmore said he was assured there was no ministerial involvement in site selection

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore told the Dáil he has been assured that there was no ministerial involvement in the selection of primary care sites at the centre of the controversy involving James Reilly.

Mr Gilmore said he met the Minister for Health along with the heads of his department and the HSE to discuss the issue this morning.

He was replying to questions from Fianna Fáil's Micheál Martin and Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald who accused him of favouring Mr Reilly and abandoning his own minister, Roisin Shortall, in the row.

Yesterday, there was confusion when Education Minister Ruairi Quinn inadvertently misinformed the Dáil to the effect that Mary Harney had been minister when the sites at Balbriggan and Swords in Mr Reilly's constituency were chosen.

He said later he had been relying on information supplied by Mr Reilly’s department.

Mr Gilmore intervened personally today to seek clarity and told the  Dáil of his meeting with Mr Reilly and other officials.

However, Ms McDonald said he had answered none of the key questions given that the Balbriggan site was owned by a Fine Gael supporter and selected on Mr Reilly’s watch as minister.

Mr Martin said transparency demanded that all the documents related to the process be made public now.

Asked why Fine Gael was "clinging to" James Reilly, Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald said that she would not put it like that at all.

Speaking as she officially launched a website with information on the Children's Referendum, she said that there is an extremely tough job to be done in the Department of Health and there were already a number of changes in terms of reform.

She said there is a reform programme under way and Mr Reilly was leading that reform programme.

Asked if she understood Mr Reilly's explanations, she said she understood that there is no personal gain for him and that there is no impropriety by him in relation to the particular site.

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