Friday 15 December 2017

Hospital row shows lack of trust between Gilmore and Reilly, says FF leader

Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore's decision to bypass Health Minister James Reilly on the children's hospital decision shows a "fundamental lack of trust" between the pair, Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin has said.

Mr Martin was responding to the Irish Independent report which revealed Mr Gilmore's advisers are talking with the various bidders and compiling their own file on where to locate the new national facility.

"It indicates a fundamental lack of trust now between the Labour Party and the Fine Gael party and particularly between the Labour Party and James Reilly as Minister for Health and Children," Mr Martin said at the launch of his children's referendum campaign.

"One also could see it as an attempt by the Labour Party to try and distance themselves from James Reilly having really been caught up in the debacle around the selection of the primary care centres."

Mr Martin said it is unprecedented that Mr Gilmore is doing his own research, and says there is now a "Gilmore report" as well as the Dolphin Report, the official children's hospital research commissioned by the Government.

He said Mr Gilmore "is making his own individual assessment separate from the ministers" which he described as "an unprecedented situation".

"We now have a separate track, a separate report commissioned by Eamon Gilmore. We believe the Government should get on with it.

"The idea that the Tanaiste is commissioning his own report separate to Minister Reilly, it says a lot about the state of relationships between different ministers in the Cabinet."

Meanwhile, Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte has insisted there is no Cabinet split over Health Minister James Reilly's role in choosing the site for the children's hospital.

Mr Rabbitte said the children's hospital would be the biggest project undertaken by the Government.

"We gotta get it right," he said on Newstalk Breakfast.

The minister said he didn't see the issue as a lack of trust in Dr Reilly.

Mr Rabbitte said it was normal for a minister from another party to make enquiries about a decision being taken by a minister in a coalition partner.

The minister expressed confidence in Dr Reilly.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn denied the relationship with Dr Reilly had broken down.

But he said there was a difficult job to be done in the Department of Health.

"It's a positive working relationship," he insisted on his way into the weekly Cabinet meeting.

Mr Quinn admitted in recent weeks to be fuming when the Health Minister gave him inaccurate information on the primary care centre controversy, which resulted in him misleading the Dail.

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