Published 09/10/2012 | 12:40
IT WAS a site in Stephenstown and not Dublin Road that was selected by the former Minister for Health, Mary Harney in her time at the head of the Department of Health in 2010, it has been clarified.
The confusions over the two sites that led to Ruairí Quinn telling the Dáil that the Dublin Road site now planned to house the primary care centre in Balbriggan was chosen by the last Government was clarified by the current Minister for Health, James Reilly, in the Dáil last Wednesday under questioning from opposition spokespersons on health over local Fine Gael member and businessman, Seamus Murphy's links to the Dublin Road site. Dr. Reilly said: 'I wish to clarify the record of the House. In the Irish Independent today, it is suggested that the site owned by Mr. Murphy (the Dublin Road site) was effectively selected by the HSE in 2010 as the site for a primary care centre. ' The newspaper suggested this information was available by way of a reply to a parliamentary question tabled by me in February 2010 when I was in opposition. ' The relevant journalist also made that statement on Morning Ireland. My assistants retrieved the reply to the relevant parliamentary question and the follow-up letter I received from the HSE. ' That letter from 1 February 2010 states: ' The HSE has selected a preferred provider for expressions of interest.' 'It goes on to say: "The proposed site will be accessible by pedestrians off Dublin Street and should be well served by Dublin Bus."' ' The letter appears, therefore, to support the report in the Irish Independent and on Morning Ireland. The Minister for Education and Skills, Deputy Ruairí Quinn, referred to it during Leader's Questions in the House today and I referred to it on RTE radio today as well. 'I have had this doublechecked with the HSE and am advised that, in fact, the reports are incorrect. 'In fact, the letter from the HSE in 2010 refers to another site in an area called Stephenstown, some distance from the site owned by Mr. Murphy. 'It appears that option ran into a number of difficulties and in November 2010, the letter of intent was withdrawn. ' The HSE returned to the other interested parties and ultimately selected Mr. A. J. Noonan. In September of last year, the HSE signed an agreement for lease with Mr. Noonan to develop a primary care centre. This information has been provided to us by the HSE and if Deputies want further information, it can be furnished by the HSE.'