The Sláintecare Implementation Advisory Council is to write to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly asking that its term of office be extended to the end of this year.

The term is due to end next month.

After a meeting tonight, the SIAC also decided to write to the head of the HSE, Paul Reid, and Robert Watt, Secretary General of the Department of Health, for a meeting, due to concerns about progress on the Government's reform plans.

They want to hear the views of these senior health officials, given the view of Professor Tom Keane, who resigned as chairperson of SIAC.

In his resignation letter, Prof Keane said the governance, accountability and commitment to progress Sláintecare was not there.

Today's meeting was also expected to seek further answers from the minister after one council member, Liam Doran, said he was none the wiser about the future of Sláintecare.

Minister Donnelly said last week's meeting had been productive and he had outlined the Government's commitment to the implementation of Sláintecare.

The controversy follows the surprise resignations of Prof Keane and Laura Magahy, Executive Director of the reform programme.

Read more:
'No meeting of minds' at Sláintecare meeting - Doran
Sláintecare council members express concern over resignations

Dr Anthony O'Connor, a member of the Sláintecare Implementation Advisory Council, said the project is in trouble at the moment.

Speaking on RTÉ's Prime Time, Dr O'Connor said the less upheaval to Sláintecare, the better.

He said there has been some great progress in some areas of the project but there is still plenty of work to be done.

Dr O'Connor said Prof Keane's comments need to be taken seriously in particular.

He said regionalisation should have proceeded but not in the middle of a pandemic.

Dr O'Connor said Sláintecare is what the public wants and it needs to happen. He said he believes it can happen and that is why SIAC is offering to stay on.