Friday 23 March 2018

'I was a lightning rod for all the Government's problems' - Reilly

Minister James Reilly TD. Photo: Sam Boal/
Minister James Reilly TD. Photo: Sam Boal/

Barry Lennon

Acting Children's Minister James Reilly believes he was a "lightning rod" for the out-going Government's problems.

The former Health Minister added his department bore the brunt of harsh budgets, speaking on RTÉ's 'Today with Seán O'Rourke' show.

"A decision was made to get out of the bailout and health was the one that paid the price for it," Mr Reilly said.

"I was the lightning rod for the problems of the Government."

The Fine Gael deputy-leader said he considered returning to his "first love" as a GP after his failure to get re-elected in General Election 2016.

However, he hinted of running for office again.

"The sooner an election comes, the more likely I am to run," he said.

Mr Reilly admitted he may have been "toxic to some people" in the Dublin-Fingal constituency where he topped the poll in 2011.

"It's always hard to be rejected," he said.

"But I'm very grateful for two terms from the people of Dublin-Fingal and I'm honoured to be Fine Gael deputy leader."

He also said he thought of quitting as Health Minister as he believed medical card holders suffered to get the State out of financial crisis.

"I was left with a very, very difficult choice over what we were being asked to do in the medical card scheme.

"I could have walked but I felt if I did that it might have brought the Government down," he said.

Irish Independent

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