Saturday 19 October 2019

More embarrassment but Reilly only has himself to blame

THEY say you make your own luck in life. And that works both ways. It can mean you earn your share of good fortune or, alternatively, bad times. Health Minister James Reilly has had his share of negative publicity since he took on the 'Angola' ministry, so labelled by Brian Cowen, two years ago.

But negative publicity is just like bad luck: you generally create your own.

We don't have time here to chronicle Dr Reilly's more spectacular own goals, but last week's gaffe – when he told a protesting nurse who had burst into song not to give up the day job – is certainly a standout.

And yesterday, he came under fire for not taking questions at the Seanad's Oireachtas Health Committee hearings, on pending abortion legislation.

Most embarrassingly, two of the minister's most damning critics also happened to be Fine Gael colleagues, Wicklow's Billy Timmins and Waterford's John Deasy.

Dr Reilly's spokesperson countered that the function of the morning proceedings was to inform Oireachtas members rather than instigate debate.

Maybe so, but surely Dr Reilly should have remained in the chamber for the duration of the session.

This is the single most sensitive and controversial legislation that this minister will navigate through the Oireachtas during this administration.

Dr Reilly should have hung around to hear what the experts had to say.

Perhaps his gruff, no-nonsense exterior disguises a sensitive soul or a political alchemist, but so far we have precious few hints that this might be so.

Irish Independent

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