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Reilly faces grilling over solo run on €130m cuts


James Reilly

James Reilly

James Reilly

HEALTH Minister James Reilly's latest blunder, by failing to tell colleagues of €130m worth of health cuts, is to be discussed by furious ministers tomorrow.

The embattled minister once again kept cabinet colleagues in the dark -- this time over his sensitive plans to cut hospital beds and home care.

Last night, it was unclear if even Taoiseach Enda Kenny was told about the list of cuts to health services.

The Health Minister was already in hot water this summer after not telling the Labour Party about the resignation of the head of the HSE.

Despite that warning, Dr Reilly again left Labour Party ministers in the dark and there is confusion over who knew what was happening last week on the Fine Gael side.

Mr Kenny's officials refused to say if he was also left out of the loop by his minister.

Government sources said there were obviously ongoing talks with the Department of Public Spending on addressing the overspending in health.

But the actual details, "the what and the when" were not set out to ministers.

Although it is unlikely to be a formal item on the cabinet agenda, the matter is expected to be discussed on the margins of the meeting.

"Nobody knew. There is no doubt it will be dealt with," a source said.

However, within Government circles there is no talk of reversing the cuts as set out last week.

The muddle comes as the new chief of the HSE admitted the cuts to staff will have an effect on hospital beds.

HSE director general designate Tony O'Brien claimed the HSE would manage the cuts as effectively as possible.

But the pressure continues to mount on Dr Reilly, who was accused of having gone "missing".

Labour Party TDs are calling for a review of the cuts.

Labour party chairman Colm Keaveney said the cuts were "unacceptable" and wants a review initiated by the Taoiseach, and party backbencher Aodhan O Riordain also called for the cuts to be reversed.

Senior Labour Party figures dismissed Mr Keaveney's claims of preparations being made for an early general election.

Labour Party TD Dominic Hannigan rejected talk of a snap election as a "load of tosh".

"Labour TDs' only focus is to get Ireland back on track. An election is years away," the chairman of the European Affairs Committee said.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore's spokesman and the party declined to comment on Mr Keaveney's remarks.

Irish Independent