Friday 24 November 2017

Johnny Fallon: Why it’s time for James Reilly to go

‘Who can believe the Minister, when her own minster of state expresses concern?’ Those were the words of James Reilly to then health minister Mary Harney back in 2007. Words that are as relevant today after all the supposed change that Ireland has undergone. It is James Reilly himself who set the standards that he is now being judged on. He accepted no excuses, he gave no quarter and now he finds that he is in a situation where the best explanation he can offer for his most recent crisis is that Mary Harney agreed with the decision.

The phrase ’stroke politics’ is often thrown around. It also takes many forms. There are things that every TD does; seeking information for a constituent, trying to advance an application, efforts to assist is getting operations or other services. These are simple and, while they may involve what some would term unfair interference, they are indicative of failings within the system where ordinary people feel unable to put their case. No human being would turn away another who genuinely seeks help for a reasonable cause.

Then there are things like TDs lobbying for their area, seeking better services, roads or hoping to get a multinational to locate there. This too could be seen as interference but it falls within the bounds of acceptability. After all there are many groups lobbying for their area, TDs add their voice to a campaign and seek to push the case with those who will decide the matter based on the facts. It amounts to not much more than assisting with the marketing.

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