White says no reason to assume impropriety
HEALTH APPOINTEE:ROISÍN SHORTALL’S successor as Minister of State for Health said he had no reason to assume Minister for Health James Reilly acted improperly in relation to the list of primary care centres.
Dublin South Labour TD Alex White said “there seems to have been, from what I can see, a kind of dispute or a disagreement about the criteria”.
But he added: “I don’t have any reason to assume anybody has acted improperly or otherwise than in the public interest” on the list of proposed healthcare centres.
The nomination of the Dublin South Labour TD as Minister with responsibility for primary healthcare is expected to be approved by Cabinet tomorrow.
Speaking on RTÉ radio’s This Week programme in advance of his appointment, Mr White said he had had a brief conversation on Friday with Dr Reilly.
He wanted to see “the maximum amount of transparency in relation to how decisions are made about the allocation of public resources”.
He said of Dr Reilly: “The Minister has said in fairness to him there were other aspects, there were other criteria, there were other considerations that had to be brought to bear in relation to the matter. I’d like to have a look at that and understand it a bit better.”
He added that Ms Shortall, who resigned last week during a controversy over the delivery of primary healthcare, said, “She would like to see us moving towards a more objective set of criteria when we do all these things, not just primary care centres.”
Mr White, a senior counsel, said: “There will be hundreds of questions that I’d like to address when I go into the department.”
Asked whether the primary care centre list would have Labour’s or Fine Gael’s credentials on them, Mr White said the programme for government was very clear that the criteria were on “the basis of need”.