Reilly to address Dáil over unpaid €1.9m judgment

Wed, Jul 11, 2012, 01:00

MINISTER FOR Health James Reilly is to address the Dáil today over his appearance in Stubbs Gazette in relation to an unpaid €1.9 million judgment.

Dr Reilly was forced to seek time to explain his position to TDs after he appeared on the debt defaulters’ list along with four business partners who joined him in investing in a private nursing home in Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary.

The appearance of a Minister in Stubbs Gazette, believed to be unprecedented in the history of the State, is highly embarrassing for the Government. Only last month, Dr Reilly joined other Fine Gael TDs in criticising the appearance of Independent TD Mick Wallace on the Revenue Commissioners’ list of tax defaulters.

However, both Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said yesterday they retained full confidence in Dr Reilly. Mr Kenny’s spokesman confirmed last night that Mr Kenny was made aware of it yesterday morning and later had a phone conversation with Dr Reilly.

Minister for Jobs and Enterprise Richard Bruton said a lot of people had found themselves in the same position as Dr Reilly.

“After the property collapse a lot of people have had investments that have got into difficulty. James has complied with all the rules for Ministers and will provide an explanation to the [Dáil],” he said.

Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher yesterday said it was “very disturbing” a debt had been registered against a Government Minister.

Mr Kelleher expressed concern the issue would distract Dr Reilly’s attention from the ongoing health budget crisis.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said Dr Reilly’s appearance in Stubbs Gazette was unprecedented for a Government Minister. He called on the Minister to clarify his relationship with the Greenhill nursing home in Carrick-on-Suir and to address the concern of a potential conflict of interest between his role as Minister for Health and his investment in the home.

“It is a fact that the Minister is taking decisions which benefit private health care. If he has a personal investment in private health care provision is he a suitable person to be Health Minister?

A spokesman for Dr Reilly, who is in Cyprus, said that on assuming office he handed over power of attorney to his solicitor in relation to his interest in the nursing home. This was then passed on to an independent solicitor.

He said Dr Reilly and four co-investors agreed to buy out the interests of another group of investors on foot of a court case earlier this year. “That judgment of the court is not in dispute.”

The spokesman said the parties were now seeking to agree the “methodology” for the payment of sums due on foot of the judgment.

“Dr Reilly has nothing to do with the ownership of the nursing home business on the property. Dr Reilly’s political colleagues are aware of his involvement in the property transaction and of his wish to divest himself of his interest as soon as agreement can be reached.”