Cork North Central TD Billy Kelleher has described his appointment as Fianna Fáil Front Bench Spokesperson on Health as a “huge challenge”, as he believes the new Government have taken on a monumental challenge in pledging to reform the health system.


Speaking following the announcement of his appointment, Deputy Kelleher said, “I’m deeply honoured to have been selected by Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin to serve on the Party’s new Front Bench. Health has always been one of the biggest areas of policy concern and I believe the coming years will see a lot of change in the health area.”


“We have all seen that the new Government has pledged to make major reforms to the health system. Obviously as the main Opposition spokesperson in this area it will be my responsibility to look into the detail behind these changes and see how they are impacting on services on the ground. It will obviously be a huge challenge but I look forward to representing the concerns of people all around the country as these reforms start to take effect and pressing Minister for Health, James Reilly over his plans to completely turn the current system on its head.”


“I also believe that the State needs to be doing more to ensure that we broaden our healthcare into the community and reach more people on a local basis. That is certainly an issue that I’m hearing from my constituents and it seems to be an area that people in every part of the country want to see more effectively operated. I will be hoping to press the Government on that side of health policy and ensure that this is an area that is thoroughly examined and hopefully implemented in the coming years.”


“Additionally we will need to pay close attention to how the radical plans being put forward for the Government in the health area will impact on the deliver of primary care. We can’t allow standards to diminish because we are looking to overhaul the system. My job will be to make sure that Minister Reilly doesn’t take his eye off the ball and whatever proposals he brings in put patients and their families first.”


“I’m looking forward to tackling this area and I will certainly be looking to speak to the various stakeholders throughout the sector,” Deputy Kelleher concluded.