Monday 20 November 2017

Alex White: Medical cards was Cabinet's fault

Minister of State Alex White, one of the contenders for the leadership.
Minister of State Alex White, one of the contenders for the leadership.
Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

JUNIOR Health Minister Alex White has blamed the Cabinet for the medical card fiasco - despite having direct responsibility for the issue.

Launching his bid to become Labour Party leader, Mr White also repeatedly declined to apologise to medical card holders for the trauma they were put through.

Following a halt being called to the review of discretionary medical cards, he says the Government was "slow to respond" to the controversy.

The minister denies being involved in the "shafting" of Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore.

Mr White has also admitted he was backing the motion of no confidence and had intended to tell the Tanaiste of support for the move.

Yet he denies he was threatening to resign.

Mr White confirmed he had intended to go to Mr Gilmore and tell him of his intention as a minister to back the motion.

"I would go to the Tanaiste at 3pm and tell him I would support the motion of no confidence. My continuance in office would be a matter for him," he said.

The minister said Labour suffered "very serious losses" in last weeks local and European elections. 

"While we have strained the loyalty of our supporters on many occasions since we entered government in 2011, the scale of our defeat in recent elections demonstrates a clear disconnect with our traditional support base," he said.

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