THERE will be no change in the level of “challenging but achievable” health cuts outlined in the Budget, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has told the Dail.
Mr Kenny was pressed on the Budget controversies surrounding Health Minister James Reilly during Leader’s Questions.
Dr Reilly and others have doubted if the €666m of health cuts outlined in Budget can be brought in, but Mr Kenny said: “There will be no change now in the Budgetary position that has gone through.”
He also called the health spending targets “challenging but achievable”.
“I know it is difficult to make these changes, the choices are always unpalatable,” Mr Kenny said.
Mr Martin also pressed him on the withdrawal of discretionary medical cards, and said 40,000 had been taken off people in the last year, even before the latest Budget clampdown.
He said Mr Kenny must be “the only person left in the country” who doesn’t think there has been a deliberate change in policies on medical cards.
“Stop telling untruths in relation to discretionary medical cards,” Mr Martin told Mr Kenny.
However, the Taoiseach said some cards had been withdrawn because of systems failures in the HSE, adding “a complete new communication strategy has been put in place”.
But Mr Martin replied: “For you, there is always someone else to blame. Today it is the system.”
Fiach Kelly, Political Correspondent