THE Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore met with Minister for Health James Reilly and senior members of his department late last week after several days of tensions in the Labour Party over the continuing controversy regarding the addition of sites in Balbriggan and Swords to a priority list of primary care centres.
After the meeting, the Tánaiste told the Dáil he had been assured that there was ministerial involvement in the selection of primary care sites at the centre of the controversy. He was replying to questions in the Dáil from Fianna Fáil's Micheál Martin and Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald who accused him of favouring Mr. Reilly and abandoning his own minister, Roisin Shortall, in the row. Earlier in the week, there was confusion when Education Minister Ruairi Quinn inadvertently misinformed the Dáil to the effect that Mary Harney had been minister when the sites at Balbriggan and Swords in Mr. Reilly's constituency were chosen. He said later he had been relying on information supplied by the Department of Health. The Tánaiste then intervened personally to seek clarity and told the Dáil of his meeting with Dr. Reilly and other officials. Labour MEPs Nessa Childers and Phil Prendergast both called for Dr. Reilly's resignation during the week and the Fingal Mayor, also a member of the Labour Party, Cian O'Callaghan has weighed in on the row, calling on Minister Reilly to be 'sacked' over the controversy.