Thursday 23 November 2017

James Reilly had talked to NAMA about primary care centres

Health Minister James Reilly has got an extra month to set out his contentious plan to respond to a European court ruling on abortion.
Health Minister James Reilly has got an extra month to set out his contentious plan to respond to a European court ruling on abortion.

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

HEALTH Minister James Reilly faces fresh questions about the location of a health centre in his constituency after it emerged he had discussed primary care centres with NAMA six months ago.

The minister has been accused of stroke politics in recent weeks, after two towns in his Dublin North constituency -- Balbriggan and Swords -- were added to a list of locations for primary care centres.

Yesterday it was confirmed that a meeting with NAMA took place on April 20 and a number of primary care locations were discussed, including Balbriggan."However, no specific address was mentioned," stressed Dr Reilly.

He added: "Within its commercial remit NAMA advises that it is at all times open to proposals which can contribute to the achievement of broader social and economic objectives. In this context many issues of interest to the health services were discussed."

The confirmation by Dr Reilly that he met with the NAMA officials came in a parliamentary reply to Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty.

A spokesman for the minister said there had been "no discussion of any specific primary care site -- NAMA would be precluded from so doing".

But Mr Doherty raised further questions about whether Minister for Health James Reilly was "hands-on with the issue of the selection of a primary care centre site in Balbriggan".

Divulge

He added: "Why did Minister Reilly not divulge this information before now?"

He said the minister had repeatedly stated that he had nothing to do with the choice of the site for the Balbriggan primary care centre.

During an Oireachtas debate in September, Dr Reilly said:"I had no hand, act nor part in this."

The recent controversy over the location of primary care centres escalated after it was revealed that a Fine Gael associate, Seamus Murphy, originally owned the site in Balbriggan chosen for the primary care building.

However, it later transpired the site was in NAMA and the original owner would not benefit from its sale.

Mr Doherty said there continued to be unanswered questions about the Balbriggan site.

Irish Independent

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