Reilly says he acted with propriety at all times
The Minister for Health James Reilly addressed the Dáil this evening explaining how his name appeared in the debt-defaulter’s list in Stubbs’ Gazette over a €1.9m debt linked to the Green Hills nursing home in Tipperary.
He outlined complex ownership arrangements since the investment was first made in 2000 and a series of legal disputes since 2004 in the Circuit Court, High Court and Commercial Court.
Dr Reilly said he holds a 9 per cent share in the investment and that he was one of five recourse co-owners. He is in effect a minority shareholder.
There were another eight investors, regarded as non-recourse owners, who were involved in the deal 12 years ago to buy land in Tipperary, build a nursing home and lease it.
Insisting he had “at all times acted with propriety,” Dr Reilly said that he has never had any role in the on-the-ground operations at Green Hills.
"In March 2011 after being appointed to government I granted power of attorney to my solicitor to dispose of my interests in the nursing home," he added.
Dr Reilly said he sought the advice of the Standards in Public Office Commission in October 2011 after his solicitor had failed to dispose of his interests in the home on a number of occasions.
He said he was advised that it would be acceptable to "proceed on a power of attorney basis."
"This advice was received early in January 2012 and power of attorney was granted to a third party solicitor. I hope it is clear to deputies that I sought at all times to comply with the code of conduct for office holders," he said.
“I do not have a conflict of interest. I have a single interest and that is the interest of older people and patients in our health service,” he said.
He very much regretted “that it has not proved possible to reach agreement in advance of being named in Stubbs Gazette”. But he said: “I am assured by my attorney that very significant efforts are underway to agree a methodology by which the non-recourse co-owners can be paid”.
“I entered politics late in life. I did so in pursuit of no business interests whatsoever.
“I did so because I passionately believe that we can provide better services to citizens. I passionately believe that we must put patients at the heart of our health service.”
About 60 TDs were present in the chamber for Dr Reilly's ten minute personal statement. Dr Reilly was flanked by a number of Cabinet colleagues including Minister for Finance Michael Noonan, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney and Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte and Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald.