Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has called on the Minister for Health Dr. James Reilly to:
· Come into the Dáil and make an urgent statement on his inclusion today in Stubbs Gazette over a €1.9 million debt
· Clarify his relationship with the Green Hills nursing home
· Address the concern of a potential conflict of interest between his role as a Minister for Health, taking decisions which affect the public funding of private health care and his investment in the Green Hills nursing home.
The Louth TD said:
“The inclusion of Dr Reilly’s name in today’s edition of Stubbs Gazette over a €1.9 million debt is unprecedented for a government Minister.
“It appears that his involvement in the Green Hills nursing home, along with several others, including former Fine Gael Councillor Anne Devitt, was an attempt to take advantage of a lucrative tax break.
“Earlier this year the High Court ordered Dr Reilly and four others to buy the nursing home for €1.9m. Thus far this debt has not been paid.
“According to media sources Dr. Reilly owns a 25% share in the nursing home. However, in a statement last night the Minister says that he has nothing to do with the ownership of the nursing home business on the property. Which is true?
“Recently the Minister of State for Health Roisin Shortall revealed that between January and May of this year 296 public residential care beds have been closed.
”At the same time there are over 600 public hospital beds occupied by people whose treatment is complete but whose discharge in being delayed because there are no public care beds or step down facilities for them. Public money is being used to subsidize private sector residential beds.
“The policy of the last government and of this is to encourage the privatisation of the health service, including private nursing homes and to cut resources to public nursing homes.
“The impact of this on my own constituency was evident earlier this year when the Dublin North East Regional Service Plan for 2012 set out the HSE’s proposed approach to ‘Older People Services’, including the provision of public nursing accommodation. The report stated that 105 public long term care beds will close. It also reported that ‘currently two of our twenty one public residential units are being considered for closure (St. Joseph’s Ardee and The Cottage Hospital, Drogheda – total 54 beds)’. The report did not specify where it plans to close the remaining 51 beds.
“It is a fact that the Minister for Health is taking decisions which benefit private health care.
If the Minister has a personal investment in private health care provision the question must be asked is he a suitable person to be Health Minister?
“At the very least he has a responsibility to clarify the situation around his involvement with the Green Hills private nursing home. That can only be done satisfactorily with a statement to the Dáil.”