Reilly under pressure after day of controversy in Dáil
MINISTER FOR Health James Reilly remained under pressure last night after a day of further controversy and calls for his resignation by two Labour MEPs.
The Taoiseach last night reaffirmed his support for Dr Reilly but there was growing unease in the Government parties over the unrelenting controversies in health.
Labour Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn was said to be incensed after he misled the Dáil with information provided by Dr Reilly’s department. Sources said he was “not prepared to take the fall” for another Minister’s mistake.
Two Labour MEPs, Phil Prendergast and Nessa Childers, and Dublin councillor Cian O’Callaghan called on Dr Reilly to go, but there was no sign of a broader groundswell within the party for his resignation.
Dr Reilly was later forced to admit to the Dáil that he had provided incorrect information by claiming the decision to locate a primary care centre on land owned by a Fine Gael supporter in Balbriggan had been taken during the lifetime of the previous government.
The lease signed by developers acquiring the land from Séamus Murphy, a Fine Gael member for 40 years, was finalised in September 2011, six months after the Coalition came to power, he said.
He rejected any suggestion of impropriety in the selection of the site and declared that any contention there was anything wrong about his link with the businessman was “utterly wrong”. The HSE said in a statement last night that Mr Murphy never lobbied it in relation to the choice of a preferred location for the centre.
Dr Reilly was accused by former minister of state Róisín Shortall of “stroke politics” last week.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said he believed the Minister’s position was untenable.
Speaking in Brussels, Enda Kenny said: “The Government have given absolute backing to Minister Reilly.”
A spokeswoman for Eamon Gilmore said Dr Reilly has the Tánaiste’s full support and that the Dáil had recently voted confidence in him.