Reilly stands over actions
Minister for Health James Reilly has insisted Fianna Fáil has "no justification" in tabling another motion of no confidence in him.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said this morning the motion will be tabled as soon as the time lapse from the party’s previously defeated vote of no confidence, which was held in September, allows. The earliest it could be held is March.
Mr Martin said the previous motion was tabled for a range of issues, but mainly due to the “chaotic and very poor way [Dr Reilly] has led health from the very beginning.”
The vote was called after it was reported that a list of primary care centre sites was altered the evening before its launch to include four new centres, two of which were in Dr Reilly’s constituency. The two centres, located in Swords and Balbriggan, were added to the priority list despite them not being located in the top 30 locations drawn up by the HSE and then minister Róisín Shortall.
Dr Reilly insisted this morning he stood by his actions. "I have made it very clear that I stand over what I did and if I had to do it all again I'd do what I did," he said in Blanchardstown in west Dublin this morning. "There is very clearly a need for primary care centres in all of the locations mentioned."
Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte accused Mr Martin of “play-acting” by tabling another motion of no confidence Dr Reilly.
Howver, Mr Rabbitte conceded the Government had allowed a “good news” story about primary care to be dominated by a controversy about the locations of centres.
Mr Rabbitte said Dr Reilly had a very difficult job to do. “And I think it’s far more serious than the play-acting that Micheal Martin is engaged in,” he said.
“If you had put a motion of no confidence in health ministers in the recent past along the lines suggested by Micheal Martin, we wouldn’t have had a minister for health over 14 years. And certainly we wouldn’t have had Micheal Martin. So I’m not much influenced by that kind of play-acting.”
Asked if he had confidence in Dr Reilly, Mr Rabbitte said he did. “We did manage as a Government to convert a good news story, which was the construction of a network of primary care centres, into a controversy and that’s not an achievement that I’m proud of but that’s what happened,” he said.
Mr Rabbitte said it was important that the primary care centres were put in place for the benefit of local communities and to take pressure off accident and emergency wards in hospital. “It’s important that the Minister gets on with that work,” he added.
Mr Martin said he had been looking for the information on the location of the centres for months.
“It took us some months through the Freedom of Information act to get this very basic information, which I have been asking for in the Dáil for the last number of months,” he told RTÉ's Morning Ireland.
“I asked the Tánaiste in the Dáil could he produce and would he publish this documentation immediately and of course they refused. The freedom of information request was delayed for a further month, which really illustrates complete contempt for the Dáil, a blatant lack of transparency and we now know why.”
Sinn Féin made fresh calls today for Dr Reilly’s resignation,