Monday 18 December 2017

Elaine Byrne: We need to know if TDs owe money

The Reilly affair shows why our politicians should have to disclose not only their assets, but also their liabilities and debts, writes Elaine Byrne

James Reilly is responsible for €13.6bn in spending at the Department of Health -- more than a quarter of total government spending for 2012.

On Friday, the Cabinet sub-committee on health met to discuss the €281m deficit in the HSE budget. In its seventh review of the bailout programme, the troika noted its concern about health budget over-runs. Nine of our hospitals have crippling deficits -- ranging from €5m at the Mater to €11m at Beaumont -- which potentially threaten frontline services.

The minister with responsibility for sorting out the health deficit has himself defaulted on a €1.9m debt. He is one of four individuals who failed to comply with a High Court order on an investment in a Co Tipperary nursing home. He is the first minister since the foundation of the State to be listed in Stubbs Gazette.

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