Shortall accused Reilly over second list
Former minister of state Róisín Shortall accused Minister for Health James Reilly of changing a second list of primary care centres to be developed using State funding, newly released documents reveal.
Separate from her concerns about the list of projects to be developed using public private partnerships (PPPs), Ms Shortall accused the Minister of disregarding the ranking drawn up with HSE officials for capital-funded centres, according to the documents obtained under freedom of information.
Ms Shortall sent the previously unpublished email to a senior department official on July 24th, a week after the announcement of a Government stimulus package which included the construction of 35 primary care centres by PPP.
In it, she said that from the list of projects supplied to her, it appeared that the capital list was changed by the Minister from the original she had agreed with the HSE on the basis of a ranking system.
“Minister Reilly appears to have added several centres without regard to the ranking and deleted others which were supposed to be prioritised. Most of those deleted now appear on the PPP list.”
“I am not at all clear as to what is happening,” she wrote.
The capital plan approved by Dr Reilly and sent to the Department of Public Expenditure for approval shortly afterwards provided for centres to be built in Finglas, Ballyshannon, Manorhamilton, Ballinamore, Corduff, Cork city north west, Sligo town and Grangegorman.
Of the locations added to the list, Monaghan town was ranked 28th, Ballinamore, Co Leitrim, was 92nd, Sligo town 126th, and Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim, was 168th.
The locations they replaced were Rowlagh and Coolock south, Dublin; Dungloe, Co Donegal; Rathdrum, Co Wicklow, and Ballymote, Co Sligo. These towns, which were all ranked in the top 17 on the original list, will now be developed by the public-private partnership method.
The records also show Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan wrote to Dr Reilly in October 2011 in relation to Meret Healthcare Ltd. Dr Reilly’s acknowledgment is included in the file but 10 other pages were withheld from the freedom of information response because they were deemed commercially sensitive.
The documents also show that Dr Reilly’s initial objection to the list drawn up by Ms Shortall was that it did not have a sufficient “geographic spread”.
This has never been publicly cited by the Minister as a reason for adding 15 locations to the original list.
The records also reveal Dr Reilly did not want a list of locations where primary care centres were to be developed under the PPP process to be published. “The logic behind this is that GPs might use the publication for negotiation/bargaining purposes,” the documents state.
The records also show that in the run-up to the announcement of the stimulus package in July, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform asked the Department of Health if any healthcare projects were being planned for northwest Mayo. No reason was given for the request.