Alex White urges transparency over reforms
on 30/09/2012 15:09:20
Labour TD Alex White will take over from Roisín Shortall as Minister of State with responsibility for primary care job this week.
But he would not support his predecessor's claims that Health Minister Dr Reilly engaged in "stroke politics" when he added two locations in his north Dublin constituency to a priority list for primary care centres.
"I don't have any reason to assume that anybody has acted improperly or otherwise in the public interest," said Mr White.
The Dublin South TD, who will be formally appointed to the junior minister role on Tuesday, said transparency was essential when making reforms.
"I would, like everybody else, want to see the maximum amount of transparency in relation to how decisions are made in the allocation of public resources," he said.
Mr White added that he had been aware of tensions between Ms Shortall and Dr Reilly.
He said the former junior minister made it clear she had concerns about the pace of reforms and changes to the health service.
Ms Shortall left the coalition Government in shock last week when she quit the ministerial role and the Labour parliamentary party.
Elsewhere, Labour's Joan Burton defended her party leader and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore for failing to convince Ms Shortall to stay in her role.
"I think that Eamon as the leader of the Labour Party has to have regard, if you like, to the national interest as well as to the interests of the Labour Party, but in the time of crisis that we're in, let's be very clear, the national interest comes first," she told RTE Radio.
Ms Shortall's resignation followed months of bust-ups with Dr Reilly over health reforms.
Already strained relations came to a head earlier this month when it emerged the Health Minister added Swords and Balbriggan to a priority list for new primary care centres without Ms Shortall's knowledge - despite primary care being her responsibility.
Yesterday, Ms Shortall accused Dr Reilly of 'stroke' politics and said he was moving the health service towards privatisation.
She also accused him of not being committed to the programme for Government and said she had serious concerns about his ability to reform the health service.
Opposition members have continued to call for Dr Reilly's resignation. Fianna Fáil also tabled a motion of no confidence in the minister earlier in the month, but the Dáil supported him with 99 votes to 49.