Friday 20 October 2017

Minister admits there were problems dealing with Magee's exit

Louise Hogan and Fionnan Sheahan

A MINISTER admitted yesterday that there were communication problems in the handling of the HSE head's resignation.

HSE chief executive Cathal Magee has said his decision to resign still stands.

Mr Magee met Taoiseach Enda Kenny yesterday morning at Government Buildings.

He said it was a courtesy meeting, where he explained why he was resigning, and that the Taoiseach did not ask him to change his mind.

Mr Magee's resignation has caused controversy within the Government after Health Minister James Reilly failed to inform Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and the Labour Party about his departure.

Mr Magee said communications within the department were a matter for the department.

But he also conceded there were the normal tensions with the minister, as would be expected in any job. Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald said the core point from the affair was to focus on service delivery and on the reforms that we need to implement.

"Clearly there were some communications issues; the Tanaiste has addressed those," she said.

"Minister Reilly has addressed those. Let's move on -- it is about reform, it is about delivering services; I don't think we should be unduly focusing on those issues now."

Dr Reilly claims he tried to call Mr Gilmore over the resignation, but there is no record of the supposed mobile phone call.

Relationship

Ms Fitzgerald was speaking at the launch of the Task Force on the Child and Family Support Agency.

She said Mr Magee had made his own decision on leaving.

"He explained very clearly, he felt it was appropriate for him to leave at this stage.

"I have a very good working relationship with Minister Reilly, as I do with the other ministers in the Department of Health.

"It is very clear from the publication of this report that it is essential we work cross-departmentally if we are to deliver the kind of services that we need," she said.

"I think what we have to keep our focus on is delivering the services under the reform programme.

"The whole four of us are totally committed to it."

Irish Independent

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