Saturday 20 January 2018

Reilly might be a dead man walking but don't be surprised if Kenny still backs him

Sometimes in politics, sorry is the easiest word. James Reilly and the Coalition finally bowed to the inevitable yesterday with a spectacular U-turn, reinstating withdrawn discretionary medical cards and apologising profusely for the distress caused.

It took them long enough. Too long, most people would say. The dozens of Fine Gael and Labour councillors who lost their seats in the local elections, at least partly as a result of the furore, would certainly concur.

Neither they, nor more importantly those who lost medical cards in the review, will be consoled by the knowledge that they were the victims of "unintended consequences" – the euphemism Reilly kept repeating to describe the catastrophic mess caused by the medical card review.

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