Questions for Dr Reilly


Sir, – As a resident in the Fingal area, I would like a clear explanation as to why Minister for Health James Reilly has proposed that primary care centres be located in both Balbriggan and Swords. While he states he made clear the rationale for the criteria, he did so late on Thursday night to the Dáil, and admitted that not many people may have heard it.

Why does he not just come out and explain again to the rest of us his decision to add two towns within 15 minutes’ travel time of each other, to a list of proposed sites for primary care centres? I understand that both locations had been prioritised and approved in late 2007 and early 2008, but the recession in mid-2008 has resulted in many plans being put on hold.

With both locations lying within Dr Reillys constituency and being added on to a list of proposed sites for primary care centres, it is understandable why one would believe his motives were locally based rather than nationally based. The role of the local TD is to appeal to the people of that locality, and Dr Reilly has done that. The role of the Minister for Health however, is to make decisions that will appeal to and benefit the greater public. Here is where Dr Reilly has failed, by being swayed by his constituency rather than the State itself.

These decisions have resulted in the minister of state, Róisín Shortall expressing outrage and criticism of Dr Reilly’s management of the health service, and rightly so. Ms Shortall said that she met him twice and still he failed to explain himself.

“The man or woman who made no mistakes never made anything” was Dr Reilly’s response when asked if he had made a mistake or not (Breaking News, October 1st). A wonderful quote by the theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein, but when it comes to the management of the State’s health service, I’m sure the people would prefer a little bit more competence and less of a fairy-tale manner.

I live close to both proposed locations and I believe the decisions made by Dr Reilly are preposterous, with the locations being 10-15 minutes driving time of each other. If primary care centres were to be built in both areas, they would contradict each other, with one service taking on the workload of the other. – Yours, etc,


Martine Court,


Co Dublin