PUBLIC Spending Minister Brendan Howlin has defended his lobbying for his local hospital, which was fast-tracked for funding.
The Government has become embroiled in fresh controversy over accusations that he showed favouritism in fast-tracking hospital projects in Wexford and Kilkenny - the constituencies of Cabinet colleagues Mr Howlin, and Environment Minister Phil Hogan.
Health Minister Dr James Reilly has said he told the HSE to “expedite” the developments but said he “did so for good reason".
Mr Howlin said Wexford General Hospital was one of the 12 busiest hospitals in the country.
But the A&E unit, dealing with 40,000 patients a year, was based in a converted pharmacy.
He said approval for the development at the hospital dated to September 2008.
Mr Howlin said Fianna Fáil and Sinn Fein wanted an inquiry locally into why the funding had not been granted.