Reilly must step down, demands Kelleher
on 03/10/2012 10:46:49
Fianna Fail health spokesman Billy Kelleher said Dr Reilly is embroiled in a clear conflict of interest after selecting two locations in his north Dublin constituency for the new units.
Fine Gael supporter Seamus Murphy owns one of the locations in Balbriggan.
"The Taoiseach needs to have a serious conversation with the minister. He needs to ask him to step aside," Mr Kelleher said.
The Fianna Fail spokesman said it was ridiculous that the former junior minister responsible for primary care, Roisin Shortall, was forced to quit following a series of rows with Dr Reilly, who has continued to come under fire for his controversial decisions over health reforms.
"I said it before and I will say it again, the wrong minister resigned," said Mr Kelleher.
He also called for Dr Reilly to make a full, clear statement to the Dáil outlining the criteria used in his decision to bump up Balbriggan and Swords in his constituency into a priority list for the building of new primary care centres.
The minister failed to inform Ms Shortall of the redraft and added the towns to the list despite it already being approved and finalised by the Health Service Executive (HSE).
Dr Reilly used a property on Mr Murphy's site as a general election campaign base.
"There are very serious questions to be answered here," added Mr Kelleher.
"And the Tanaiste also needs to come forward and say whether he was made aware by Ms Shortall of this relationship between the minister and this property developer, and if so, explain why he let her take the fall and quit her party."
Ms Shortall resigned her ministerial post and from the Labour parliamentary party last week.
She has been replaced by Dublin South TD Alex White.
The Health Minister confirmed there was a connection between himself and Mr Murphy - a well-known property developer in north Dublin.
But he insisted there was no impropriety because Mr Murphy had no intention of developing a primary care centre.
"The article suggests that there is controversy about the possible development of a primary care centre by way of lease at the Dublin Road site in Balbriggan. This is not the case," said a spokesman for Dr Reilly.
"The recent addition of Balbriggan to a list of potential towns that may seek to develop a primary care centre by way of a public private partnership is an entirely separate matter."
It is reported that Mr Murphy is in the process of selling the site to development firm Rhonnelan.
Company chairman AJ Noonan has been identified as the man responsible for the health centre development- by way of lease with the HSE.
Dr Reilly's spokesman insisted that Mr Noonan is not known to the minister.
"That arrangement is entirely a matter for Mr Noonan, the relevant general practitioners, who support his proposal, and the HSE, which determines the appropriate handling of such matters," he said.
The spokesman added that the HSE decision to enter a lease with Mr Noonan was based on health requirements.