MINISTER FOR Health James Reilly and Minister of State at the Department of Health Róisín Shortall will meet this week after she strongly restated her position in the row over the siting of primary care centres.
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore yesterday indicated he was satisfied Dr Reilly’s decision to add two towns in his constituency to a priority list of locations based largely on deprivation originally drawn up by Ms Shortall was taken on a “balanced basis”.
Ms Shortall said all decisions must be made in a transparent way after the country had been “profiled” in terms of population and age as well as urban and rural deprivation.
“The guiding concern from my point of view is that resources go where they’re most needed, where there is established health need,” she said.
“We need to identify where are those areas of greatest need and we have very, very good information on that . . . It would be very foolish not to take heed of all of that important data that is available to us.”
She confirmed she had spoken to Dr Reilly yesterday and said they had arranged to meet later in the week.
Mr Gilmore said reports of feuding between the two Ministers were overdone.
“I think some of this can be exaggerated. I think that what we have to be clear about is what we’re trying to do here,” he told reporters in Brussels.
As Dr Reilly defended his decision to add two locations in his constituency to a priority list for primary care centres, Ms Shortall publicly called on him to explain his rationale. Three times when questioned by reporters yesterday, she declined to express confidence in the Minister.
There were no contacts between the two politicians yesterday.
The controversy has heightened tensions within Labour, with senior party figures saying they supported his decision to add further locations to the original list prepared by Ms Shortall. Last night, however, Labour chairman Colm Keaveney said the party grassroots strongly supported Ms Shortall in her differences with Dr Reilly. Mr Keaveney said he had been inundated with calls from members praising the Minister of State for her Dáil speech. “They’re telling me she delivered her message with dignity, honesty and self-criticism and that she was faithful to her values.”
They’re calling him Reilly: Ace of Lies.
This week’s motion of no confidence in the Minister for Health is the only credible response to the reality of what is happening under James Reilly. Before the election he personally led a deeply cynical campaign on health. He promised that he and Fine Gael would make sure that no one lost any services and a whole new set of free services would be provided.
After running a briefing campaign to protect his budget he announced that he had enough money to fully deliver his service commitments.
We never believed this and have been relentless during this year in questioning him about services and budgets. He repeatedly assured us and the Dáil that everything was fine under his personal management. He repeated like a mantra that frontline services were being protected.
This was untrue and health services are now being subject to a round of mean-spirited emergency cuts which Minister Reilly was denying while already implementing them.
Before the full force of his management has had its impact, waiting lists are rising, services are being closed and there is a deep sense of despair in the sector.
There is no precedent for a situation where the Taoiseach praises a minister for being brave in reversing cuts while the Minister is still claiming that the cuts never existed.
The government majority means that the motions are unlikely to pass; however the move puts pressure on Labour backbenchers who are believed to be unhappy with Reilly’s swingeing cuts to the health service.
Micheál Martin said at the Fianna Fáil think-in yesterday that the no confidence motion was “the only credible response” to Reilly’s tenure as Minister for Health.
Martin criticised Reilly’s lack of action of cutting waiting lists and introducing free GP care. The Fianna Fáil leader also hit out at Reilly’s attempts to bring in “mean-spirited” cuts to the health service.
“There is no precedent for a situation where the Taoiseach praises a minister for being brave in reversing cuts while the Minister is still claiming that the cuts never existed,” said Martin.
He [Reilly] will no doubt turn up during the debate to announce that his failures are everyone else’s fault. His colleagues will engage in their usual game of attacking the opposition. But they’ll fool no one and the cold, hard facts of their promises set against the reality will be even clearer than before.
It is likely that the government will table its own motion expressing confidence in the Minister this week.
James Reilly had said anything that was not agreed by last night at the Labour Relations Commission would be referred to the Labour Court for a binding ruling under the provisions of the Croke Park agreement.
The Government said it intends to appoint hospital consultants in the future on “substantially” lower pay rates.
In a document tabled at talks at the Labour Relations Commission, health service management proposed that there would be “no differentiation between future appointees and existing consultants in terms of title, status or scope of practice”.
Free GP care
What the Minister failed to explain was that the end of the road for these tracks is to be found somewhere over the rainbow.
Hogan points to local authority failings
He should know from his own experience as a councillor, TD and Minister.
A man well versed in claiming the few bob
OAPs facing €5 travel charge
Ministers believe that old-age pensioners would not object to contributing towards the cost of travel. The forgoing statement is both presumptuous and arrogant but then that is typical of people whose masters are International banking.
Who said this?
All I ever need to know I learned from The Three Stooges.”
Young Fianna Fáil
YOUNG Fianna Failers are urging third-level students to join up and help resurrect the party’s fortunes.
Posters hung in college campuses across the country are using the story of Lazarus to urge students to become “part of the comeback”.
Looks like they have not studied the bible to well; if they had, they would recall the crucifixion of their Messiah not so long ago. They should also recall that their chief failed to rise from the dead.
The Government had committed to introducing the measure this year.
Mr Reilly said today that the legislation was complex and there had been some delay but the Bill would be published in the next Dáil term, and the issue was “still very much on track”.
The cost of the measure is put at around €15m this year.
THE DEPARTMENT of Health and drug manufacturers are close to a deal that could cut the State’s drugs bill by up to €400 million.
Although some details remain to be ironed out, an agreement cutting the annual cost of drugs for the next three or four years is expected to be struck next week.
Any deal that yields significant savings will come as a godsend to Minister for Health James Reilly, who has been heavily criticised recently over health spending overruns.
The Minister of Health and Death is a man who dispels copious amounts of toxic hot air. Within his inner-circle colleagues, refer to him as the “Walking Fart”
The Walking Fart promised to sweep away the incontinence of the previous administrators. He stated I promised to deliver a health service that we all could be proud of; he is seventeen months into the job, and things have gotten worse.
In his first eighteen months in the Dáil, this man managed to ratchet up €32,000 for travel and subsistence despite living 18 miles from Leinster House.
The Walking Fart seems to have a talent for milking the gravy train. What a shame he is totally bereft of expertise to manage the health service.
Talk about the life of Reilly
In place of medical cards recipients will receive help in the form of photocopied Anglo Irish Bank Bondholders certificates