James Reilly at government buildings holding the expert group report on the need for new abortion legislation, which was published yesterday.
‘You didn’t really think I’d read it, did ye? Hahahahaha’
Looks like he puts away 100 Carrolls and a case of Powers a day.
But then one of the prerequisites for being Minister for Health is that you cannot run 10 yards without serious risk of a coronary?
Two locations in Minister for Health James Reilly’s north Dublin constituency were added to a list of places chosen for primary care centres on the evening before they were announced by the Government, newly released documents reveal.
Further changes were made to the list including the addition of Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon, and Kilkenny just hours before the list of centres was announced as part of the Government’s stimulus package last July, the documents obtained under freedom of information show.
Last September, The Irish Times revealed that Swords and Balbriggan were added to the priority list announced by Dr Reilly as part of the stimulus package, despite the fact that they did not feature in a list of the top 30 locations drawn up by the HSE and his then minister of state, Róisín Shortall.
Swords, Balbriggan, Kilkenny and Ballaghaderreen all ranked outside the top 35 in the list of priority locations drawn up by Ms Shortall and HSE officials, which was weighted towards the most deprived areas of the country.
Swords ranked 130th in this list while Balbriggan ranked 44th. Ballaghaderreen, which was the subject of lobbying by two Government politicians, ranked 244th, while Kilkenny was ranked in 151st position.
The issue has proved hugely controversial for Dr Reilly and the Government ever since. Ms Shortall resigned in September and later described the addition of the two locations in north Dublin to her original list as “stroke politics”.
The documents reveal a flurry of last-minute changes in July after the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) told the Department of Health for the first time that the locations would be published at the time of the stimulus announcement.
At that point, on July 16th, 33 locations were on the list. However, the Department of Health then drew up its “final list”. A memo sent to DPER at 8pm on that day – the day before the announcement – submitted a new list with Swords, Balbriggan and Oranmore added, and South Dublin removed.
The following day another memo from the Department of Health, marked “urgent – revisions”, stated that there were “changes to last night’s list”.
“There are now 36 locations. Ballaghaderreen is new . . . Kilkenny is new, Castlecomer is out, Oranmore is out,” the memo stated. It was sent at 11:55am, almost 1½ hours after that week’s Cabinet meeting started.
The documents do not show the rationale Dr Reilly employed in altering the original list, but the Minister has said he made his decisions based on a number of factors, including the likelihood of GP buy-in to the plans.
The official files also show that last month the secretary general of the Department of Health Ambrose McLoughlin asked its internal audit unit to “ascertain any connection that links the Minister and/or his four advisers in relation to the selection of the sites for the Balbriggan and Swords primary care centres”. This followed claims that a supporter of Dr Reilly owned the site of a proposed centre in Balbriggan.
Dr Reilly rejected any suggestion of impropriety in the selection of the site. He said this had nothing to do with him.
Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher said last night the new information posed serious questions for Dr Reilly and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore. He said the Tánaiste told the Dáil there was documentation which could be sought under freedom of information on the background to Mr Reilly’s decision. Mr Kelleher said nowhere in documents released did this explanation exist. A spokesman for the Minister did not return calls last night.
THE top civil servant in the Department of Health launched a probe into his own minister, Dr James Reilly, in the wake of the controversy over the decision to locate two primary care centres in his constituency.
Ambrose McLoughlin, the department’s secretary general, ordered an investigation after revelations in the Irish Independent that a supporter of Dr Reilly owned the site of a proposed primary care centre in Balbriggan, Co Dublin.
The revelation that Mr McLoughlin moved to investigate his own minister will heap further pressure on Dr Reilly, who has faced criticism over his handling of the Savita Halappanavar tragedy and HSE overspending.
Informed sources said it was Mr McLoughlin’s “sole decision” to launch the probe and Dr Reilly was aware it had been launched.
The move by Mr McLoughlin to initiate an investigation into the matter came as Mr Reilly was facing intense scrutiny over the controversial decision.
Minister for Health James Reilly is breaking the law and rejecting international human rights principles by failing to remove an upper age limit for an allowance to people with disabilities, according to a report by Ombudsperson Emily O’Reilly.
Minister for Health James Reilly is breaking the law and rejecting international human rights principles, by failing to remove an upper age limit for an allowance to people with disabilities, according to a report by Ombudsperson Emily O’Reilly.
She says it, “raises fundamental questions about the strength of our commitment to international human rights norms.
The continued failure of the department to tackle this issue, suggests it has a very weak sense of the importance of supporting human rights principles and indeed, a very weak sense of the rule of law and of its obligation to act in accordance with the law.’
Ms O’Reilly further said, “I have sympathy for the Government and the rest of us who are about to come under the cosh with €3.5 billion reduction in terms of the money that can be spent on public services but I think it is simply unacceptable for the State to act outside the law.
I think basically they are trying to string this out. They have to remove the cap.”
Ms O’Reilly also said, that when the scheme was originally introduced in 1979 the upper age limit was legal, however when the Equal Status Act became legislation in 2000, the State could no longer discriminate on grounds of age.The report also says the O’Reilly’s department, has been operating a scheme for the past 12 years, on the basis of a condition that was illegal and that it has known to be illegal for the past four years. Despite having agreed last year to remove the upper age limit from the scheme, it failed to do so. As a consequence, it has knowingly allowed the scheme to continue in operation on the basis of an illegality.
Opposition politicians may have largely abandoned their sallies on Minister for Health James Reilly’s position on the bumping-up of a site in Balbriggan belonging to his associate, for development as a primary care centre, but controversy and malodour involving the Minister and his actions are not going away. Today we learn of continued resistance by consultants to his late-in-the-day reform of work practices, but it was earlier this week that the Minister revealed in the Dail that practically all medicines used in the Irish public health system are expensive non-generic medicines. This compares with just 20% use of non-generic medicines in our closest neighbour, the UK.
Minister Reilly was responding to a series of questions from the Sinn Fein health spokesman Caoimhghin O’Caolain and the Sinn Fein finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty. It was revealed that in 2011, a staggering total of €1.85bn of drugs were prescribed in Ireland and that just a paltry €100m per annum are non-generic. In a recent IMF report on selected issues in Ireland, it was revealed that in the UK, 80% of drugs prescribed are generic. It seems that the IMF estimate of generic drug use in Ireland of 20% was four times over the true percentage*, which just aggravates the point being made by the IMF. Generic drugs, whose patents may have expired, are less expensive than non-generic drugs, yet Ireland’s health service, overseen by Minister Reilly is aloof to tackling an area which could see hundreds of millions of euro savings per annum. Just how much longer can this minister continue in his post.
The full parliamentary questions and responses are here:
Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: To ask the Minister for Health the full drugs bill for the Health Service Executive for 2010, 2011 and to date in 2012; if he will provide a breakdown of same by scheme, by patent status and branded generic status.
Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Health if he will provide an estimate of the cost of drugs and medication used by the public health service in each of 2010 and 2011.
Deputy Pearse Doherty: To ask the Minister for Health if he will provide an estimate of the cost of generic drugs and medication used by the public health service in 2010 and 2011.
Minister for Health, James Reilly: HSE expenditure on drugs and non-drug items (dressings, etc.) under the GMS and community drug schemes for the years 2010 and 2011, including mark ups and dispensing fees for pharmacists and wholesalers, is set out in the following table:
The HSE’s Performance Report indicates that expenditure up to July 2012 is approximately €1 billion . Expenditure on generic drugs is estimated to be in the region of €100 million per annum.
The outstanding information sought by the Deputies is being collated and will be supplied as soon as possible.
* UPDATE: 25th October, 2012. It has been pointed out that the IMF study examined volume which showed that 20% of volume was non-generic, the PQs above reveal that 5% by value is non-generic.
The minister has been accused of stroke politics in recent weeks, after two towns in his Dublin North constituency — Balbriggan and Swords — were added to a list of locations for primary care centres.
Yesterday it was confirmed that a meeting with NAMA took place on April 20 and a number of primary care locations were discussed, including Balbriggan.”However, no specific address was mentioned,” stressed Dr Reilly.
He added: “Within its commercial remit NAMA advises that it is at all times open to proposals which can contribute to the achievement of broader social and economic objectives. In this context many issues of interest to the health services were discussed.”
A spokesman for the minister said there had been “no discussion of any specific primary care site — NAMA would be precluded from so doing”.
But Mr Doherty raised further questions about whether Minister for Health James Reilly was “hands-on with the issue of the selection of a primary care centre site in Balbriggan”.
He added: “Why did Minister Reilly not divulge this information before now?”
He said the minister had repeatedly stated that he had nothing to do with the choice of the site for the Balbriggan primary care centre.
During an Oireachtas debate in September, Dr Reilly said:”I had no hand, act nor part in this.”
The recent controversy over the location of primary care centres escalated after it was revealed that a Fine Gael associate, Seamus Murphy, originally owned the site in Balbriggan chosen for the primary care building.
However, it later transpired the site was in NAMA and the original owner would not benefit from its sale.
Mr Doherty said there continued to be unanswered questions about the Balbriggan site.
This morning the Central bank announced that it would move premises within the next twelve months. A spokesperson for the bank stated they needed a location more suitable to today’s working environment. A site outside the city centre has been located.
Enda Kenny and James Reilly the Health Minister are out on the golf course when all of a sudden, Reilly collapses .He doesn’t seem to be breathing, and his eyes are glazed. Kenny whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps Reilly is dead! What can I do? The operator says calm down. I can help. First lets make sure he is dead. There is a silence then a shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says “ok now what”
Dr James Reilly the Health Minister has once again spectacularly changed his story on the site selected for a primary care site in his constituency.
Dr. Reilly claimed the decision on the site was made during Mary Harney tenure in office. Ruairí Quinn the Minister for Education backed up this claim.
Reilly now admits that this information is totally incorrect.
Enda the Time has come to sack Minister Reilly and at the same time a slap on the wrist for Master Quinn
It appears the owner of the land on which the divisive health centre is to be built is a well-known supporter of FG.
Seamus Murphy who is in the process of selling it to a development company owns the land in question.
Both Reilly and Murphy have been pictured together at social events in Balbriggan.
One wonders if the development company has links to Reilly.
Above Reilly,Joe English and Seamus Murphy
Mary Greally, James Reilly TD, Seamus Murphy and Sylvester Greally
As late as last Monday the Taoiseach gave his full backing to Minister Reilly
Last night Dr Reilly said both Swords, and Balbriggan were recognized as high-priority areas by the HSE five years ago. However, both “lost out” after Minister of State Shortall increased the weighting and they were swept from high priority to low priority. Under the original priority system, Reilly stated they both would have been in the top 35. Conversely, under the new system with an altered weighting system, they ended down the list.”
However, we now know this is a blatant lie as Balbriggan was ranked in forty fourth position and Swords in one hundred and twenty seventh place before Ms. Shortall ordered officials to change the weighting related to deprivation.
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar concedes that the decision to locate two primary care centres in the Health Minister‘s constituency “does look like” stroke politics.
However, he said that you had to trust your Cabinet colleagues to make the right decisions.
Dr Varadkar said that he trusted Dr James Reilly in that regard.
It looks like Varadkar is saying I admire your blatant ability to use stroke politics to strengthen your domestic nest. It also looks as if “Big Mouth” is saying it is time to go, Jimmie Boy.
The decision of Reilly in relation to the location of care centres has caused conflict between himself and Labour Minister of State Róisín Shortall. Dr. Reilly was asked to identify the politicians who had lobbied him in relation to the centres but a spokesperson acting on his behalf declined to respond.
Reading between the lines one suspects Leo might be saying that’s him sidelined in my quest for the top spot.
We also learn from this that stroke politics is alive and thriving under the umbrella of health.