Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has said there will be widespread disappointment at the breakdown in talks with Hospital Consultants on new work arrangements following Minister’s declaration of a ‘breakthrough’ in negotiations less than four weeks ago.

Deputy Kelleher said: “It is clear now that Minister Reilly was misleading the public when he hailed his major breakthrough on September 17th, in an effort to divert attention from his disastrous handling of the Primary Care Centre announcement.

“The Minister has a responsibility beyond simply seeking to generate positive headlines for himself.  We were promised a new dawn in the Programme for Government when it came to dealing with Hospital Consultants and again in September Minister Reilly hailed a significant breakthrough in talks only to see them turn to dust in a matter of weeks.

“There is a strong case to be made that the Irish Hospital Consultants Association are not social partners and there is scope for the Minister to take a stronger stand in the negotiations.  Instead of talking about the need to ‘get tough’, he could actually do it.

“Once again, Minister Reilly is failing to deliver and frontline services will continue to be affected by his inaction and lack of delivery.  Minister’s Reilly’s false dawn with the Consultants last month only adds to the growing sense that he is not the man to lead positive change in the health service and it is time for the Taoiseach to honour his commitment to sack underperforming Ministers and remove James Reilly as Minister for Health.”