Monday 16 October 2017

Gilmore denies lack of trust among coalition partners

Sarah Stack

Sarah Stack

TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore has denied there is a lack of trust in the coalition despite carrying out his own research into a site for the children's hospital.

The Labour Party leader revealed his team examined possible locations for the long-awaited facility so he had the facts before Health Minister James Reilly took his final decision to Cabinet.



Mr Gilmore, who was again forced to say he had confidence in Dr Reilly, insisted there is trust between Labour and the minister.



"There is no question of any lack of trust," said Mr Gilmore.



"This is about making sure we make the best decision in the interest of the public.



"I think the public expect us to do that in a serious way, expect us to do that in an informed way, and I'm not approaching this issue any different than any other major issue that has to be decided by Government."



Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin claimed the development was disturbing and revealed a lack of trust after Labour's former junior health minister, Roisin Shortall, controversially resigned when Dr Reilly added two sites in his constituency to her list of primary care health centres.



It earlier emerged the Tanaiste's advisers spoke to bidders for the hospital after an independent expert group gave a list of possible locations to Dr Reilly in March.



The Dolphin Report did not rank the different locations, but left it to Dr Reilly to make a recommendation to Cabinet.



Preferred alternative sites include St James's Hospital in the south inner city and Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown.



Mr Gilmore said he did not have a parallel report, but got his team in the office of An Tanaiste to provide him with the facts and information he would need before making his final decision.



"You can take it that on many major issues - whether it is property tax or whether it is the budget, taxation, social protection, education, any major issue that comes before this Government - I make sure that I am informed, that I am briefed and that I am in the best possible position to approach the issues that come before Government," he said.



"Frankly I don't think that people of this country would expect any less."



The expert group was set up to find a site for the hospital when planning permission was refused next to the Mater Hospital in Dublin's north inner city.



Dr Reilly is expected to make a decision from the report within weeks.



"I understand the report is imminent and when we get the report will sit down, make a decision on it and take it to Government," Mr Gilmore added.



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