Hogan denies he lobbied for centres
MINISTER FOR Environment Phil Hogan has denied lobbying Dr James Reilly on primary care centres, despite records showing they discussed the issue at a meeting earlier this year.
Mr Hogan’s spokeswoman said yesterday he hadn’t lobbied the Minister for Health on the centres at the meeting last February or at any other time.
She said the meeting between the two men was a general discussion on how to promote community care and primary care centres.
Details of the numbers of centres to be promoted by the Government were not discussed.
Mr Hogan’s ministerial diary confirms the fact of the February meeting with Dr Reilly, months before the Minister for Health added 15 locations to a list of 20 proposed primary care centres.
The pair were scheduled to meet for an hour in Leinster House on February 29th, according to both their diaries.
Mr Hogan’s records do not indicate the purpose of the meeting but in Dr Reilly’s diary it is recorded as being “re primary care”.
Among the 15 centres added to the list by Dr Reilly are one in Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny, in Mr Hogan’s constituency and a second one in Tullow/Rathvilly, on the border between the Carlow/Kilkenny and Wicklow/East Carlow constituencies.
The Irish Times first asked Mr Hogan on September 23rd if he had lobbied Dr Reilly about the siting of a primary care centre in his electoral area.
No answer was received to this question until last night. Mr Hogan’s diary also shows a meeting with Dr Reilly on May 6th, 2011, shortly after the Government came to power.
A further entry notes “for info” that Dr Reilly was opening a primary care centre at Ayrfield in Kilkenny on September 30th, 2011.
In addition to the Ayrfield centre, a new primary care centre opened in Callan, Co Kilkenny, last February. Mr Hogan performed the opening ceremony.
Dr Reilly has said on several occasions in recent weeks that he consulted senior Ministers before extending the list of primary care centres and that he had explained his rationale for doing so.
He referred to consultations with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform but did not mention Ministers by name.