Reilly admits Harney did not choose Balbriggan site for new centre
on 03/10/2012 18:00:26
James Reilly faced a grilling in the Dáil today as controversy rumbled on following the resignation last week of Junior Minister Roisín Shortall.
The Taoiseach Enda Kenny gave his and the Government's "absolute backing" to Dr Reilly after a revelation that the Minister has political ties to the owner of one of the sites in Balbriggan.
This morning's Irish Independent revealed James Reilly had political ties to Seamus Murphy, who owns the site in Balbriggan earmarked for a new primary care centre.
The Government rejected Fianna Fáil claims of Minister Reilly's conferring commercial and financial advantage by saying the Blabriggan site was selected by the HSE under a previous Minister (Mary Harney).
This evening, James Reilly admitted that was not in fact correct.
"I'm advised that in fact the reports are incorrect," he said. "In fact, the letter from the HSE in 2010 refers to another site in an area called Stephenstown some distance from the site owned by Mr Murphy."
Fianna Fáil health spokesperson Billy Kelleher said: "…The truth behind this primary care centre debacle remains elusive.
"In the opening remarks of a performance that was at times evasive and at times bizarre, Minister Reilly appeared to suggest that contrary to everyone's understanding, the site in Balbriggan was not chosen by the former Minister for Health, but by him.
"This contradicts the Minister's own account on the Pat Kenny show earlier today and entirely undermines the defence used by Minister Ruairi Quinn during today's Leaders' Questions when he dismissed a legitimate line of questions with the trite explanation that 'Mary Harney chose the site'.
"I asked him twice in the Dáil to spell out when the site in Balbriggan was chosen. Twice he refused to answer.
"Rather than clear up the issue, Minister Reilly's performance today has further confused matters. He should move quickly to clarify whether or not he was the Minister who chose the site at the centre of today's revelations."