'Methadone clinic locations not decided by any minister' - Harris
Health Minister Simon Harris has rowed in on the debate over the provision of methadone clinics, saying their location is not decided by his department but by the HSE.
He was speaking after Culture Minister Josepha Madigan was branded a "disgrace" after a letter was sent to her constituents hailing the news there will be no methadone clinic in Ballinteer.
Transport Minister Shane Ross was also criticised after highlighting the news there will be no methadone clinic in the south Dublin suburb.
Asked yesterday about the provision of methadone clinics and the differences in opinion among politicians on them, Mr Harris said: "The location of clinics is decided by the HSE, not by the Department of Health or any minister."
"They will continue to be provided right across the country to provide services to people," he added.
Solidarity TD Paul Murphy hit out at ministers Ms Madigan and Mr Ross, claiming their updates to constituents implied that such a clinic would be a "bad thing" and a "threat" to the community.
He claimed Ms Madigan's letter was "quite disgusting and demonstrates typical Fine Gael snobbery".
Labour Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin claimed Ms Madigan was "a disgrace".
He accused the Culture Minister of "celebrating the lack of services for vulnerable people in her local area in her circular".
"Does she genuinely believe that no local residents have drug problems?" Mr Ó Ríordáin asked.
"It says everything about Fine Gael's approach to the drugs crisis."
Ms Madigan's spokesman insisted that she "fully supports the provision of health services, including methadone services, for those requiring them in their community".