Reilly stands firm after quit calls
Published 21/10/2013 | 13:51
Health Minister James Reilly has insisted he has no intention of quitting and claimed he is in more control of his department than ever before.
The embattled minister dismissed calls to step down because of budget overruns and cuts to the number of medical cards issued.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin - a former health minister - called for his resignation almost a year after his party tabled a motion of no confidence in Dr Reilly.
"I have no intention of resigning," Dr Reilly said.
"I think it's a bit rich of Micheal Martin, the architect of the HSE, the man that when we had more money than at any other time in the State made a complete mess of the health service, and the man who then presided for 716 weeks, week in week out, sitting at Cabinet with Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen, bankrupt the country.
"It's really a bit tongue and cheek in my point of view coming from him."
Official figures given in last week's budget show savings in health must reach 666 million euro, but it is believed the real figure could be up to one billion euro.
Dr Reilly said he was "absolutely in control" of his department and the Health Service Executive (HSE) and that he had wanted a new financial reform board and chief financial officer.
"Precisely because of that I want these figures to be jointly assessed, validated and implications of their implementation shared and understood by the Department of Public Expenditure and the Taoiseach and by all my cabinet colleagues," he continued.
"This is a Cabinet decision, it's one that I sought and it's one that I got agreement on and I think that it's one that will help us fully understand the challenges that the health service faces."