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Harney to fly home into storm over X-ray scandal

PRESSURE is set to mount again for Mary Harney's resignation as her 15-day junket to New Zealand draws to a close.

The Minister completed her last round of official engagements today but won't be leaving the 22°C heat until Sunday.

Ms Harney has a free day tomorrow before flying back to Dublin with Etihad Airways.

Her Department has not revealed what class the Minister is travelling but Etihad offers a luxurious business class service, which includes Champagne on boarding and seats with inbuilt massage.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen has banned the St Patrick's Day ministers from first class travel, but it is likely that most on long-haul journeys will travel business class.

If this is what Ms Harney has opted for, she will be able to avail of "five-star meals", with options such as pan-seared fillet of monkfish and king prawn.

The former PD leader is expected to come under severe pressure when the Dail resumes on Tuesday over the 58,000 X-rays were never reviewed by consultant radiologists at Tallaght Hospital.

Ms Harney has dodged questions on the issue while on her trip, and in an interview with a New Zealand paper, Ms Harney refused to speculate on her future as a government minister.

"Clearly we are facing a Cabinet reshuffle next week and a reorganisation of the Government," she said.

The Press newspaper ran its story under the headline: "Irish politician escapes heat in NZ."