Gilmore attacks FF 'hypocrisy'
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has attacked Fianna Fáil after the party warned it would table a motion of no confidence in Minister for Health Dr James Reilly.
In a display of coalition unity, the Labour leader defended the Fine Gael TD and accused the opposition party of hypocrisy over its criticism of the health service.
“They left this country in horrific debt and, in particular, their handling of the health service was appalling,” said the Tánaiste.
“So what Fianna Fáil have to say about the health service is just a pure act of hypocrisy.”
Mr Gilmore and Taoiseach Enda Kenny were expected to reinforce the importance of a united front at today's Cabinet meeting.
Senior figures in the coalition have played down rumours of a rift between the parties when some TDs spoke out over Dr Reilly’s plans to cut €130 million from health services.
Ministers are expected to discuss Dr Reilly’s proposed cuts to health services at Cabinet, along with other details of the 2013 Budget.
While the Taoiseach and Tánaiste insisted coalition relations are good, several backbenchers - Ray Butler and John O’Mahony of Fine Gael and Labour’s Brendan Ryan, Aodhán Ó Riordáin and Michael McNamara - criticised cuts to frontline services.
Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher said Mr Gilmore had “once again resorted to his favourite party trick of kicking Fianna Fáil instead of addressing the real concerns of patients and their families in the face of savage health cuts”.
“The Tánaiste’s comments today will provide absolutely no comfort to the thousands of high dependency patients who will have their homecare supports cut as a result of this Government’s decisions,” he said.
“What people really want to know is, what will Labour’s response be to the drastic cutbacks in home care supports for older and disabled patients? Will they brief their friends in the media behind closed doors, or will they take action to stop these cuts?”
Additional reporting: PA