HSE denies political interference in funding allocation for autism services

Tuesday 25 June 2013 23.16
Fianna Fáil has called on James Reilly to explain the funding allocation
Fianna Fáil has called on James Reilly to explain the funding allocation

The Health Service Executive has rejected suggestions of political interference in the allocation of resources set aside for the improvement of autism services.

Fianna Fáil has called on Minister for Health James Reilly to explain why all of the money spent so far from a fund to improve autism services has been allocated to a centre in north Dublin near the minister's constituency.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, HSE Chief Operations Officer Laverne McGuinness said there was "no political interference" in the decision to allocate €300,000 to Beechpark Services in north Dublin.

Ms McGuinness said the decision to allocate the funding was instead solely based on the recommendations of a HSE commissioned report.

"There was a HSE report and based on that report a recommendation was that €300,000 would be invested in Beechpark Services in the Dublin north area", she said.

"I can say categorically that I did not have any political interference with regard to where this €300,000 would be spent."

Independent TD Róisín Shortall has said there needs to be an end to secret decision-making around the spending of public money.

Speaking on the same programme, Ms Shortall said the reality is that Mr Reilly announced in January 2012 that €3m would be provided for autism services over three years.

Halfway through that three-year period only 10% of that money has been allocated.

She said nobody was denying that there were long waiting lists in north Dublin, but said there were equally long lists in other parts of the country too.

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