HSE board member offers to step down


A LONG-STANDING member of the board of the HSE has offered his resignation to Minister for Health, James Reilly.

Solicitor Eugene McCague has written to Dr Reilly offering to step down. It is unclear whether his resignation has been accepted.

There have been indications that Dr Reilly may wait to see if other members of the 12-person board also opt to leave. Last month, following a meeting with the board, he indicated that he wanted to make changes to its membership. He identified reform of the HSE board as one of his priorities in answer to a parliamentary question last week.

Asked about the resignation and whether it had been accepted, a spokesman said: “Minister Reilly has indicated that he intends to make changes to the board of the HSE. Speaking directly to the board, he made clear that the changes will reflect the radical reform of the health service that is planned.

“He also reassured them that any changes . . . are no reflection on individuals personally or professionally.

“As regards any offer to step down by a board member, given the fact that the Minister intends to bring a range of new faces to the table, [he] will respond to such offers in a unified move.”

Mr McCague is chairman of legal firm Arthur Cox and a graduate of University College Dublin. He is a member of the Board of Co-operation Ireland, a former chairman of the governing body of the Dublin Institute of Technology and a former president of Dublin Chamber of Commerce.

Under current legislation, the board of the HSE is appointed by and reports to the Minister for Health. Members do not appear before Oireachtas committees in relation to their actions.

The board is responsible for overseeing the implementation by HSE management of its annual service plan as agreed with the Government, as well as how its €14 billion budget is spent. It has been chaired by businessman Frank Dolphin since last summer.

Other board members include Pat Farrell, chief executive of the Irish Banking Federation; Joe Mooney, a retired senior official of the Department of Finance; and Dr P Anne Scott, professor of nursing and deputy president of Dublin City University (DCU).

Also on the board are Niamh Brennan, professor of management at UCD; Dr Dermot Power, consultant in geriatric medicine at the Mater hospital; Sylda Langford, former director general of the Office of the Minister for Children; Joe Lavelle, manager with Deloitte; John Fitzgerald, former Dublin city manager; and Nuala Hunt, chartered accountant and tax consultant.

All current HSE board members were appointed by former minister for health Mary Harney.