Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher TD has responded to Minister James Reilly’s claims that the arrival of Cabinet colleagues into his Department’s work is not undermining his authority but is in fact only happening because he has invited them in.
Deputy Kelleher commented, “After a weekend where his colleagues from both Fine Gael and the Labour Party were busy briefing against him in the Sunday newspapers, telling anyone who would listen about the dysfunction being created by his chaotic behaviour, the Minister and his handlers have tried the novel approach of claiming that this was part of his plan all along.
“This makes no sense and has no credibility. According to James Reilly, he is more in control of his budget than any other health minister in the history of the country. If we are to take him at his word, it would mean that every other account that has come from all his colleagues privately and in briefings to the press are simply lies. It would also mean that he has voluntarily accepted a budget target that he and his civil service colleagues accept is unachievable. It would also mean that he has voluntarily ceded authority over his own department and surrendered credibility as part of some cunning plan.
“Unfortunately for patients and their families, the truth is much simpler. As Fianna Fáil warned over a year ago and consistently since, Minister James Reilly is simply not fit for purpose. He has created an atmosphere of disorder and dysfunction, is waging an undeclared war on discretionary medical cards, has brought morale within the health service to breaking point, and remains standing outside the department telling people that everything is fine.
“Despite their public protestations, his cabinet colleagues have lost faith in his ability to deliver. Perhaps the Taoiseach will explain why he refuses to consider moving him, but more likely with his record majority to rely on, the Taoiseach will press on supporting his friend, regardless of the cost or impact that Minister Reilly’s lack of leadership creates.”