Reilly to make statement to Dáil on €1.9m debt listing


Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he has been assured by Minister for Health James Reilly that his business affairs are in order.

Mr Kenny also said Dr Reilly had no difficulty making a statement to the House when he returned to Ireland from Cyprus tomorrow. Mr Kenny spoke to Dr Reilly this morning.

“This particular matter has been in the media before,’’ he added.

Dr Reilly has been named on the debt defaulters' list in Stubbs Gazette, along with a number of business partners, for failing to comply with a High Court order over the purchase of a nursing home in Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary.

The Minister and four others are joint and severally liable for a €1.9 million debt arising from the purchase of the nursing home.

Mr Kenny said Dr Reilly had assured him that the money would be paid. “He is a minority investor in this matter,’’ he said. “He has no control or direction over the process.’’

Mr Kenny said that there were “some difficulties with the groups involved here in respect of this matter’’ and the Minister had given power of attorney, in proper circumstances, to have his interests handled in an unfettered and arms-length position.

Mr Kenny was replying in the Dáil this afternoon to Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams who asked him to confirm that the Minister would make a statement to the House.

The Minister, who had made a decision to close hundreds of public nursing home beds, had a commercial interest in a private nursing home, said Mr Adams.

Mr Adams said he was not making a judgement on the Minister but seeking to have him to come into the House.

Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher today said it was “very disturbing" a debt had been registered against the Minister. Mr Kelleher expressed concerns 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 Green Hills 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?”

The Dáil will tonight debate a Fianna Fáil motion accusing the Government of failing to manage the health budget which is currently €280 million in deficit.

A spokesman for Dr Reilly 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.”