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This Week' revelations show government copies Fianna Fáil cabinet cronyism

27 January, 2013 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, has described as "damning in the extreme" the revelations in RTÉ radio's 'This Week' programme that Health Minister James Reilly fast-tracked hospital upgrades in Wexford and Kilkenny at the behest of his cabinet colleagues Brendan Howlin and Phil Hogan.  Minister Howlin also specifically sanctioned €12 million for the Wexford project.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said: "The revelations on RTÉ's 'This Week' programme are damning in the extreme. Clearly this Fine Gael/Labour Government is copying Fianna Fáil with cabinet cronyism ensuring the fast-tracking of favoured projects in the constituencies of ministers."

Necessary hospital upgrades in Wexford and Kilkenny were fast-tracked by Health Minister James Reilly at the behest of his cabinet colleagues Brendan Howlin (Wexford) and Phil Hogan (Carlow-Kilkenny), ahead of other necessary upgrades and capital works on hospitals across this state.

Even more seriously, Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin authorised the specific €12 million budget for the Wexford Hospital upgrade.

"Is it now the case that the fate of hospitals will be determined by the presence or absence of cabinet ministers in the constituencies where hospitals happen to be located? Minister Reilly promised to restore A&E services to Roscommon Hospital and reneged on that commitment when appointed to the cabinet. He made similar commitments to support Monaghan General Hospital and has not restored one service or one bed to the hospital. The downgrading of hospitals in Dundalk, Navan, Ennis, Nenagh and elsewhere has been allowed to continue by this Minister.

"Ministers Reilly, Howlin and Hogan must come into the Dáil this week and explain in detail their role in these matters and I will be demanding accountability from them when the Dáil resumes on Tuesday." ENDS

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