Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health, Billy Kelleher has said that while he welcomes Fine Gael’s new found support and enthusiasm for the National Treatment Purchase Fund, the current expansion of the fund has only come about because of Fianna Fáil.

“Minister Harris has spent the last number of days extolling the virtues of the fund, discussing how it will be used to reduce waiting lists, and provide value to money to the tax payer.

“However, what Minister Harris fails to mention is that it was his party that scrapped the fund in 2011, and that it was Fianna Fáil that demanded its return as part of its Confidence and Supply Agreement with Fine Gael in May 2011.

“The Minister has lost the run of himself. It’s great news that the NTPF is back operational, with funding allocated to reduce waiting lists, but his attempt at whitewashing his party’s responsibility for its closure won’t work.

“Then Minister for Health, Micheál Martin established the fund in 2002, and it was instrumental in reducing waiting lists to less than three months.

“The advent of New Politics means that things have to be done differently. What is doesn’t mean is that we forget the past.

“Minister Harris has rightly accepted that the decision to scrap the NTPF was a mistake. He must also publically accept that his party had to be dragged kicking and screaming to its current position of support for the fund,” concluded Kelleher.