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Minister Reilly was ‘hands on’ in selection of Balbriggan primary care centre site

25 October, 2012 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has said “it is now clear that Minister for Health James Reilly was hands on with the issue of the selection of a primary care centre site in Balbriggan.”

The claim comes after Minister Reilly admitted that he met NAMA on April 20th of this year and discussed the issue of locating a primary care centre in Balbriggan.

Deputy Doherty said:

“Minister James Reilly has repeatedly stated that he had nothing to do with the choice of the site for the Balbriggan primary care centre. During an Oireachtas debate in September he said, ‘I had no hand, act nor part in this’.

“It is now clear that this is not the case. Minister Reilly has been involved in discussions with his Department Officials and NAMA on the Balbriggan site in April of this year. It is also clear that his party colleague, developer Seamus Murphy could stand to benefit from the choice of the Balbriggan site.

“Earlier this month I asked Minister for Finance Michael Noonan whether there had been contact between Minister for Health James Reilly and NAMA on the location of a primary care centre at the Balbriggan site owned by Reilly’s associate Seamus Murphy.

“The Minister refused to answer the question stating that this information was confidential.

“This week I put the same question to Minister Reilly himself. In response he admitted that he had indeed met with NAMA on April 20th of this year to discuss ‘a number of primary care locations…including Balbriggan’.

“I also pressed Minister Reilly to detail the nature of these discussions but he refused to answer the question. Both Ministers clearly have questions to answer.

“Why did Minister Noonan refuse to provide information that Minister Reilly met with NAMA when asked? Why did Minister Reilly not divulge this information before now? What were the details of the discussions between Minister Reilly and NAMA – discussions that took place months before Minister Reilly included the Balbriggan site on the priority list of primary care centres. What have these two senior government Ministers got to hide?

“It is time for Minister Reilly and Minister Noonan to come clean on this issue. Clearly James Reilly has played a central part in the selection of the Balbriggan site. His close associate Seamus Murphy could benefit financially from the Minister’s involvement in the decision. Why did Minister Reilly not come forward with this information before? What other information has he not yet revealed.

“Minister Reilly must provide a full and frank account of his direct involvement in the choice of the Balbriggan primary care centre site and the detail of his discussions with NAMA on this matter.” ENDS

Note to editor: full text of parliamentary question to James Reilly & Michael Noonan

for WRITTEN ANSWER on 23/10/2012
To ask the Minister for Health if he or his representatives have had contact with the National Asset Management Agency in respect of a property at 66, 68,70 Dublin Street, Balbriggan, County Dublin; and if so, the dates and nature of the contact.
- Pearse Doherty T.D.

My officials and I met once this year with NAMA on 20 April 2012. Within its commercial remit NAMA advises that it is at all times open to proposals which can contribute to the achievement of broader social and economic objectives. In this context many issues of interest to the health services were discussed. A record of the meeting shows that a number of PCC locations were discussed, including Balbriggan. However, no specific address was mentioned.

To ask the Minister for Finance in respect of a site at 66, 68 and 70 Dublin street, Balbriggan, North County Dublin if the National Asset Management Agency has been contacted by the Minister for Health or his Department or his representatives or the Health Service Executive, and if there has been such contact on the subject of this site, the date of the contract or contacts; the identity of the person or persons making the contact or contacts and the nature of the contact or contacts..
Pearse Doherty.
For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 10th October, 2012.
Ref No: 43749/12

Minister for Finance (Mr Noonan) :I am advised by the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) that information relating to its debtors and properties within their control is, within the meaning of Sections 99 and 202 of the NAMA Act 2009, confidential and that it is therefore precluded from discussing such matters.

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