Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on Children Robert Troy has slammed the appointment of a new Children’s Minister only 8 weeks after Charlie Flanagan assumed the post. James Reilly is taking on the role following the Cabinet reshuffle.
Deputy Troy commented, “This move by the Taoiseach to appoint a new Children’s Minister only weeks after Charlie Flanagan took office is a clear indication that the Government does not view this Ministry seriously. The decision to use the Department of Children and Youth Affairs as a stop-gap for Minister Flanagan seriously undermines its important work and policies.
“I am also gravely concerned at the appointment of Minister James Reilly to this Department. During his tenure in the Department of Health he presided over successive budget overruns, the medical card fiasco, and series of broken promises, including reneging on a commitment to extend the BreastCheck programme. To appoint a diminished Minister does nothing to instil a belief that children and young people are a priority for this Government.
“Minister James Reilly is taking up this post at an extremely sensitive time. A Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes has been established, and I would urge the new Minister to publish the terms of reference of this inquiry without delay. It is imperative that he maintains a cross party consensus on this issue and continue with the constructive approach taken by his predecessor.
“The cost of childcare is one of the biggest crises facing parents in this country. Only this week, a report revealed that Irish childcare fees are amongst the highest in Europe, costing an average of €750 a month per child. The Minister needs to take urgent action on this issue, which is restricting many parents from getting back to work.
“The Department of Children and Youth Affairs is the safety net for some of the most vulnerable people in our society. It is an extremely important post within Cabinet and I am looking forward to hearing Minister Reilly’s priorities for his new role”.