Labour MEPs call on Reilly to resign
Two Labour Party MEPs have said Minister for Health James Reilly should consider stepping down from his post.
Nessa Childers, who represents Ireland East, described Dr Reilly’s position as “untenable” in a statement released from her Brussels office this afternoon, while Phil Prendergast, MEP for Ireland South, used her Twitter account to call on Dr Reilly to “consider his position”.
Ms Childers said Labour had to “take a stand” and insist that health care policy was operated in an “open and transparent” manner.
“It now appears that Fine Gael is continuing the previous government’s practice of allocating public health on the basis of patronage, and not according to need,” she said.
“Access to health care cannot only be the gift for the chosen few, or if you have a Minister for Health in your constituency. Care centres must be allocated according to need.”
She said she had “grave concern” over the “suitability” of Dr Reilly in delivering “positive and progressive” health care.
“As Deputy Roisin Shortall stated, the latest revelations suggest that other priorities are dictating where primary care centres are located.”
Meanwhile, Ms Prendergast used Twitter to criticise the Minister in strong terms. “I think Minister Reilly should consider his position. This is the sort of politics that has brought us to ruin,” she wrote.
In a subsequent statement, Ms Prendergast also said Dr Reilly’s position was “untenable”.
She said the Minister should disclose “justifiable, objective criteria” used for adding two locations in his constituency to the list of primary care centres or offer his resignation Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
“As a nurse and midwife for 20 years, and as a Labour Party public representative, I have no confidence in Reilly and I think he should consider his position,” Ms Prendergast said. “His actions in not releasing details of the criteria applied in the addition of extra primary care centres to the list created by the HSE, and his subsequent treatment of his junior ministerial colleague in the department, are undermining confidence in the government's promise to reform healthcare.”
Ms Prendergast claimed Dr Reilly’s action “smells of the old ‘you scratch my back’ politics which brought this country to the brink of ruin”.
This morning, a Labour councillor from Fingal, near Dr Reilly’s north Dublin constituency, became the first to break ranks with his party and called for the Minister to resign. Cian O’Callaghan also urged Labour leader and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore to pressure Dr Reilly into stepping down.