Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has sought urgent clarification about the ‘policy differences’ that exist between Junior Health Minister Róisín Shortall and the Health Minister James Reilly.
Deputy Kelleher was commenting after Minister Shorthall repeatedly refused to state whether she has confidence in her senior Minister during an interview on Newstalk Breakfast this morning.
“The growing gulf between Ministers Shorthall and Reilly is extremely worrying given the chaos in the health service at the moment,” said Deputy Kelleher.
“We have a projected health budget overrun of up to €500 million this year, we have a health authority with no one at the helm, we have a system that’s full of waste while front-line health services are cut severely, and we have a Minister in charge who doesn’t even have the full confidence of his junior ministers.
“Minister Shortall has now admitted that his is not about a personality difference between herself and Minister Reilly, but that significant ‘policy issues’ need to be worked through. Patients will be alarmed that there are such fundamental differences between the Ministers running, and supposedly reforming, their health services.
“We cannot allow a situation where a senior Minister overseeing such a crucial public service makes unilateral decisions and keeps colleagues with key areas of responsibility completely in the dark. The Ministers must meet as a matter of urgency, sort out their differences once and for all and start focusing on delivering better outcomes for patients.”