Tuesday 21 November 2017

Maeve Sheehan: The doctor, the lawyer and the enforcer: three not so wise men

Three of Fine Gael's main men have lurched from crisis to crisis since the Coalition took office. Here Maeve Sheehan reports on the woes of Health Minister James Reilly

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has played down recent reports that he is to look over the shoulder of his health minister to micromanage his department. But it's hard to separate his renewed interest in health from Dr James Reilly's volatile track record.

Dr Reilly has caused more than his share of trouble for the fragile Coalition since he barged into the Department of Health two years ago, promising to reform the health service. Dr Reilly has blamed the media for unwarranted attacks but his record stands.

He has failed to implement either of his big ideas: to abolish the Health Service Executive and to introduce universal health insurance. Added to this is his political meddling in the health service, a sometimes destructive bombastic style and the disaster of his personal finances. He has also failed to stem the outflow of cash from the health sector, which is apparently why the Troika doesn't trust him.

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