Minister says Magee 'issues' resolved

Fri, Jul 20, 2012, 01:00

Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald has conceded there were “communications issues” within the Government over the departure of HSE chief executive Cathal Magee.

But she said Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and Minister for Health James Reilly had addressed these issues and it was now time to “move on”.

Dr Reilly was informed last Friday that Mr Magee would be stepping down but Cabinet and departmental colleagues only learned the news when the story appeared in The Irish Times last Wednesday.

Ms Fitzgerald said this morning Mr Magee had made a fine contribution to the health services but insisted the decision to leave was his own. 

She described her own relationship with Dr Reilly as very good. 

“Enough” had been said about the issue, she told journalists. “Let’s move on. It’s about reform, it’s about delivering services and we should be focusing on those issues.” 

The new Child and Family Support Agency, designed to give greater focus to State services for children, will be established next year, she said.

Ms Fitzgerald said the agency would bring a dedicated focus to child protection and family support issues for the first time in the history of the State.

It would also be a major step in resolving the systemic issues identified in successive report, most recently the independent review of the deaths of children while in State care. 

She was speaking at the launch of the final report of the Task Force on the Child and Family Support Agency, which recommends that many services for children be moved from other bodies into a single, comprehensive, integrated and accountable agency.

The services involved include public health nursing, speech and language therapy, child mental health services and psychology services.

The agency would also assume a role in social work and sexual violence services, as well as children detention services and probation services.