McGrath defends Reilly in row over autism care cash
AN INDEPENDENT TD has defended Health Minister James Reilly for allocating all the money spent so far from a fund to improve autism services to his native north Dublin.
Around €300,000 of €3m promised over three years on children's autism services has been so far spent, with all of it going towards a facility in north Dublin.
However, Beechpark Services' HQ is based in Santry – and this is outside Dr Reilly's Dublin North constituency.
Dublin North Central TD Finian McGrath said Beechpark served areas around Dublin city, and Dr Reilly's spokesman said the money was also going towards services in Kildare and Wicklow.
Mr McGrath added the money, which could help remove between 60 and 70 children from waiting lists, was "badly needed".
"I welcome the money being allocated to Beechpark," Mr McGrath said.
Dr Reilly's spokesman said the minister was only following a Health Service Executive (HSE) recommendation.
In April 2012, a HSE report recommended that €300,000 be spent in Dublin north and north city in 2012, with the south and west of the city to get €300,000 this year.
However, Fianna Fail health spokesman Billy Kelleher said Dr Reilly needed to make a Dail statement on the issue.
He said extra money was needed around the country, not just in north Dublin.
"Unfortunately this is just the latest in a series of disturbing revelations raising questions about how Minister Reilly makes important decisions about health service investment," Mr Kelleher said.
"The shambles over primary care centres in his own constituency last year means that the minister cannot be given the benefit of the doubt about this matter. He needs to make a full and frank statement on the matter without delay."