Minister denies he has bullying manner

Wed, Oct 3, 2012, 01:00

Linking the needs of constituents in Swords and Balbriggan for primary care centres and “stroke politics” would be an insult to those people, Minister for Health James Reilly claimed today.

The Minister also rejected any claim that he had behaved in a bullying manner over the issue involving former minister of state Róisín Shortall . “There’s no way I have a bullying manner with anybody,” he said.

Asked would he change the way he dealt with colleagues in the wake of Ms Shortall's resignation, Dr Reilly said he had an “excellent working relationship” with Minister of State for Mental Health Kathleen Lynch.

“We have our moments, the natural tensions come to the boil occasionally, we resolve them - that’s the sort of relationship I will have with [new Minister] Alex White."

Questioned by Pat Kenny on RTÉ radio whether the primary care centres row was Ms Shortall’s fault, the Minister said he was “not in the blame game at all”.

Dr Reilly said there were a “whole load” of ways of communicating within Government, that he communicated with senior Labour ministers about these issues and that it “would have been known to her [Ms Shortall]” that these things were happening.

Dr Reilly said he did write to Ms Shortall and explain what was happening but conceded this was after he had made public the total list of 35 centres.

Dr Reilly said he did nothing wrong in the affair and that he would “do it all again” but added this was not to say he had not made mistakes.

The Minister also denied he had any connection with the primary care centre site in Swords, Co Dublin, and said nothing would emerge later to contradict this.

Asked whether there were other potential locations for care centres besides Balbriggan and Swords with which the Minister would not have been so closely linked, Dr Reilly in turn asked whether the locations selected were on a priority list in 2008, long before the Coalition took power.

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