Lise Hand: In a year of splits, cuts and bruised egos, hospitals inevitably made the headlines
THERE'S little doubt that the denizens of the Dail and Seanad were more than happy to head off for a Christmas break after a torrid year in which our politicians were hit with a veritable ABC of controversies – from abortion to bank debt to cuts.
For some members of the Oireachtas it was a particularly torrid year, and nobody will be happier to see the end of 2012 than Health Minister James Reilly. The year was only a few weeks old when Dr Reilly admitted that budget cuts would affect frontline services; this was followed in February by the shock decision by An Bord Pleanala to refuse permission for the National Children's Hospital on the Mater site (after months of pressure and debate, in November Dr Reilly eventually unveiled St James's Hospital as the new location).
In July Dr Reilly appeared in 'Stubbs' Gazette' as owing a debt of €1.9m along with four others arising from a High Court judgment on the group's purchase of a nursing-home in Carrick-on-Suir.