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Shortall: I have serious concerns over Reilly’s ability to run health service

Roisin Shortall has strongly criticised health minister James Reilly in her first public statement since she resigned as junior health minister on Wednesday.

In an interview on the Marian Finucane Show on RTE Radio 1 this morning, Shortall said she had serious concerns about Reilly’s ability to manage the health service and that she viewed the inclusion of Balbriggan and Swords in the list of primary healthcare centres as stroke politics. “I have no doubt about that,” she said.

“James Reilly is going in a different direction in relation to the health service. It’s much more about a business model than a service that puts patients at its core.”

Defending her decision to vote confidence in James Reilly in the previous week’s no confidence vote, the Dublin North West TD said “I had to make a call. I had serious differences with James Reilly and I had serious concerns about his ability to manage the health service and his ability and interest in implementing reforms.

“I believed he was going in an entirely different direction, down the whole privatisation, American-style route. And I still firmly believe that.

“It came to the confidence vote. My inclination was to vote no but I knew if I did that, it would be a one-day wonder. I’d lose my job and go to the back benches. I really felt that I had a responsibility to set things out, and I did that in my four-minute speech.

“I was hoping that would act as a catalyst for the Labour Party within government generally.”

She was also critical of the Labour Party leadership, saying she resigned from the party because it did not back her.

Shortall said she had a meeting with the party’s leader Eamon Gilmore but “Ultimately he backed James Reilly over me.”

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