Great in opposition, a fiasco in power

AS far as fiascos go, James Reilly has become an expert in the field. He was one of the most impressive opposition spokesmen and used his decades of experience as a doctor to rumble former Health Minister Mary Harney.

The 57-year-old made a late entry into politics, being elected for the first time in Dublin North in 2007.

He quickly rose up the ranks of Fine Gael and became a close ally of Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Dr Reilly was promoted to deputy leader in July 2010, before being made Minister for Health when the party took power.

He is regarded as being firmly inside the inner Cabinet circle.

Much focus has been given to his luxurious mansion on the outskirts of Moneygall, Co Offaly, where he lives with his wife, Dorothy. He also owns a property in north Dublin.

He was criticised for claiming tax breaks on the Moneygall property, and has become embroiled in other highly damaging controversies, leading to a vote of no confidence in the Dail.

In July, it emerged that the Dublin North TD was listed in Stubbs Gazette, as one of five investors who had a €1.9m judgment against them over a Tipperary nursing home.

Just days later, the Herald revealed that he personally intervened in a dispute involving staff at the home, despite telling the Dail he was not involved in 'operational matters'.