Renewed calls for James Reilly to resign as Minister for Health

Monday 26 November 2012 11.20
James Reilly has been accused of engaging in 'stroke politics'
James Reilly has been accused of engaging in 'stroke politics'

Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil have repeated their calls for Minister for Health James Reilly to resign from his position.

Sinn Féin's spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform, Mary Lou McDonald, said today that it was clear to her that Mr Reilly should not be the Minister for Health.

She said her party did not have any confidence in him, and he was presiding over "shambles after shambles" in the department.

Deputy McDonald said the minister did not work in a manner that was open and transparent, and should go.

She said the latest information released under the Freedom of Information, which showed the minister had been making changes to a list of primary care centre sites almost right upon until they were announced, was evidence of "stroke politics".

Fianna Fáil's spokesperson on Transport, Tourism and Sport, Timmy Dooley, said Minister Reilly had bungled the entire operation of the Department of Health and the HSE.

Mr Dooley said the latest developments made it "abundantly clear that this was political stroking at its worst".

He said Fianna Fáil had moved a motion of no confidence in Mr Reilly before the Dáil in September, and that the party still had no confidence in him.

Deputy Dooley said it was necessary now for Mr Reilly to hand back his seal and resign from office.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said that Minister Reilly had his support in carrying out what was a very difficult job at the Department of Health.

He said Mr Reilly had inherited a dysfunctional HSE and was trying to put "shape and make" on that, so that it would be more accountable and focused.

Howlin awaits health expenditure figures

Meanwhile, Mr Howlin said he does not know what the final expenditure figure in the Department of Health will be for this year.

Minister Howlin said he would not know the figure until the end of the year, but pointed out that there had been a net underspend in a number of departments.

He said the net expenditure across all departments for October had been €200m below target.

The minister said the Government had to wait for the final year-end figures and keep the pressure on spending as best they could, while being mindful of the impact that health and other vital services had on citizens.

He said the Department of Health budget was a work in progress, and he would "set out a stall" once he had the final figures.

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