Ó Caoláin comments on Reilly statement
Commenting on Health
Minister James Reilly's Dáil explanation, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson
Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said:
"Minister Reilly has not dispelled the
concerns of those who believe there is a conflict of interest in a Minister for
Health presiding over bed reductions in public nursing homes while being an
acknowledged stake-holder in a private residential care home.
"The Minister has left questions
unanswered. He chose to make a 'personal explanation' under Dáil standing
orders rather than to make his statement and then give Deputies the opportunity
to question him.
"The fact is the Minister, by his own
admission, still retains his interest in a private for-profit concern in the
health sector. The Minister offered a complex explanation of why he
says he has not been able to divest himself of that interest. Yet the Minister
clearly gave the impression after the General Election that he had divested
himself of that interest. I acknowledge that he sought the guidance of the
Standards in Public Office Commission but apparently only in October 2011, a
full six months after taking on his Ministerial duties. However, details of his
difficulties have only come to light in the wake of his appearance in Stubbs
"The Minister claimed that it is not the
case that there is a conflict of interest because he is not the operator of the
nursing home. Of course having a stake that may give rise to a
conflict of interest does not require the Minister to be the operator, merely
to benefit or potentially benefit from the concern in question.
"The Minister also claimed that there is no conflict of interest because his single interest is the well-being of older people. I would contend that the policy he is pursuing, including the closure of public nursing home beds, is detrimental to the well-being of older people and, at best, is a very misguided policy."