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Reilly vows to keep TDs informed with a monthly email

EMBATTLED Health Minister James Reilly has vowed to keep his Fine Gael colleagues 'up to the month' on developments in his department.

THE troubled TD claimed that some ongoing controversies are solely down to bad communication.

But his solution of a monthly email may not reassure disgruntled backbenchers.

Dr Reilly's move to reassure his own party members comes as Labour's chairman Colm Keaveney appealed for party unity in the wake of the resignation of junior minister Roisin Shortall.

In an email to councillors, Mr Keaveney hinted that there is more to Ms Shortall's resignation than the primary care facility scandal over which she quit.

Mr Keaveney said there is "another context" to recent events but added that party leader Eamon Gilmore was not in a position to publicly explain this yet.

Mr Keaveney called for party unity ahead of December's Budget.

As the call for Dr Reilly to resign grew last night, sources told the Herald that he has now acknowledged he needs to improve his PR skills.

"He admitted to a meeting of parliamentary party members that bad communication is behind much of his negative publicity," a TD said.


"He said that he will work on getting his message across better so that everything that happens in health doesn't get clouded in controversy.

"One of the new things he intends to do is send out a monthly email to update Fine Gael TDs on his work."

As he fought for his political survival, Dr Reilly cancelled a visit to Galway University Hospital this morning.

Mr Gilmore has now said that he fully backs the minister even though some of his own deputies are becoming edgy.

He said that Department of Health and HSE officials had reassured him that the Dublin North TD had no role in the selection of a Balbriggan site for a primary care centre.

The site in question is owned by a supporter of Fine Gael who has previously attended social events with the minister.

Mr Gilmore also said he always gave former junior minister Roisin Shortall his full support while working with Dr Reilly.

Ms Shortall resigned her ministry and the Labour whip in the Dail last week, and said Mr Gilmore backed Dr Reilly instead of her.

Yesterday Taoiseach Enda Kenny ordered Dr Reilly to give Mr Gilmore assurance that he was not involved in the selection of a controversial primary care centre site.