VOTERS in Health Minister James Reilly's constituency stand to benefit the most from free healthcare for children aged five and under.
As his Government basks in the announcement of free GP care for young children, we can reveal that the minister's constituency is home to more children in that age group than any other voting region in the country.
Mr Reilly's Dublin Fingal constituency was home to 15,808 children under six in the 2011 census – more than double the amount of many other constituencies like Galway-Roscommon and Cork-South West.
Parents of these children – approximately 25,000 people of voting age – will no doubt be delighted by the new rules. However, the decision has received a very mixed reaction from the general public and medical groups.
"It smacks of a political stunt," said the Irish Medical Organisation.
The National Association of General Practitioners claimed that the move will result in massive overcrowding in GPs' surgeries.
"The State needs to create 300 more GPs overnight if it wants this to work," said chief executive Chris Goodey.
While some sources suggested GPs will gain from the new scheme, Mr Goodey said it will be costly for them.
"While we support the idea in theory, it's underfunded," he added.