Senator Thomas Byrne has this week called on the Fine Gael party in Meath to set out the exact position on the new Regional Hospital for the North East.

The Meath East Senator commented, “Early in the New Year, it was suggested that discussions were ongoing between the Department of Health, the HSE, and Fine Gael representatives on the proposed Regional Hospital for the North East.  In common with families throughout the county, I welcomed reports of progress on this matter.” 

“However, when I sought further details on the initiative through my colleagues in the Dail, the Minister for Health immediately denied that any such talks were taking place involving either the HSE or his Department. 

“While the Minister suggested the HSE may well have been in receipt of routine telephone inquiries on the matter, he also confirmed that the mooted public private partnership can only be done in accordance with public tendering rules and with the approval of the Ministers for Health and Public Expenditure.  Therefore, the idea of local public representatives stitching together a “public private partnership” on the basis of a few telephone calls to the HSE is misleading, deeply disingenuous and in the realms of political fantasyland.   

“This critically important project needs real ministerial approval, not misleading press statements.  Until local public representatives start putting pressure on Minister Reilly and Minister Howlin, nothing will happen.  Illustrating the importance of this point, at a recent Health Forum meeting in Kells and again in the last week in the Dail, James Reilly has stated quite clearly that he’s not going to build the hospital. 

“In light of the Minister’s uncharacteristically clear rejection of the proposal, I am calling on the four Government TDs in Meath to appear before Meath County Council as requested by the Fianna Fáil grouping at its last meeting to explain their misleading  and contradictory statements on the Regional Hospital” concluded Senator Byrne.