Kenny defends decisions on care centres by Reilly


THE MINISTER for Health had taken on the “unenviable task” of sorting out the wreckage left by his predecessors, the Taoiseach told the Dáil.

Enda Kenny reiterated his support for Dr James Reilly and his inclusion of two primary care centres in his Dublin North constituency. He rejected a demand from Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin that Dr Reilly make a Dáil statement. “The Minister will be here on Thursday to answer all and any questions from members of Deputy Martin’s party or any other member in respect of this particular matter . . .” he added.

Mr Martin said that, after consulting Cabinet colleagues, the Minister took a unilateral decision to add a further 15 to the 20 centres, including two in his constituency: “He published no criteria or provided no evidence base to justify this unilateral decision.”

Mr Kenny said there were broader criteria than the deprivation index. They included impact on acute services in hospitals, competition and GP co-operation.He said the Government had signed off on a list of 35 primary care centres, with 20 to be developed.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald asked how the Taoiseach could stand over the inclusion of two centres in the Minister’s constituency. Ms McDonald asked when Minister of State for Health Róisín Shortall had first known about the matter.

Mr Kenny said it was “contemptible” to allege personal benefit by Dr Reilly in respect of his remit as Minister for Health.