James Reilly is to be sacked as Health Minister within six weeks, we [the Irish Mirror] can reveal.The under-fire TD will get the boot from his department – and as Enda Kenny’s right-hand man in the party – over his shambolic handling of the medical card debacle.
Health Minister Dr James Reilly appeared on the BBC2 documentary series ‘Burning Desire’ last night. As Peter Taylor asked him about the introduction of plain packaging he had this to say about the tobacco lobby:
Peter Taylor: “But on what grounds could the tobacco industry/cigarette companies take legal action against your government?”
Dr James Reilly: “They will argue that we are interfering with intellectual property rights. It would be an extraordinary society that would put the intellectual property rights of multinationals over the right to life of citizens and children particularly. This is a nation that stands on its own two feet and we’ll protect our children.”
Last night a special Prime Time investigation into National Lottery funding of community projects, by Ken Foxe, revealed how, in 2011 and 2012, the people living in Fine Gael Health Minister Dr James Reilly’s constituency, Dublin North, were twice as likely to get funding than any other constituency.
Following a Freedom on Information request, Mr Foxe obtained documents showing repeated instances of how Dr Reilly overruled original recommendations of senior civil servants.
In one recommendation a civil servant recommended against a €44,000 allocation for a minibus for a group, saying the group already had a fleet of recreational vehicles.
But five months later, the funding was granted in full with the document signed off by Dr Reilly.
In another instance, a civil servant suggested that an application for €10,500 be turned down with the civil servant giving three reasons for their decision. However, six months later, Minister Reilly approved the full amount.
Mr Foxe also found a document that recommended approval of a €30,000 allocation to a group in Dublin North in January 2012, which contained a handwritten note on the assessment form saying: “They are located in the minister’s constituency”.
But it wasn’t just the Department of Health that such practice was found. It was also evident in the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.
Dublin-West, the constituency of former Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald – now the Justice Minister - was also twice as likely to get funding than other constituencies. Of the €1.5million approved by her department during her appointment, 10% of it went to Dublin Mid-west.
At the beginning of 2012, in the Transport Department, Fine Gael’s Michael Ring, junior transport and sports minister, from Mayo, brought in new rules in regards to the allocation of National Lottery funding in his department, basing the allocations on a per capita basis.
However, between 1998 and 2011, Mayo ranked 16th in regards to receipt of National Lottery funding. Under the new system Mayo moved up to 9th by December 2, 2012. And three weeks later, on December 21, 2101, after the announcement of a second round of funding for regional projects, Mayo ranked 3rd.
Mr Foxe also discussed the matter of ministers making representations to departments, for National Lottery funding, including a successful representation made by Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Mr Foxe found that, in the Department of Children, an application for funding had an average success rate of 18% but when an application was followed by a representation by a minister, the average success rate rose to 33%.
Every year close to €200million is allocated to ‘good causes’.
The DUP [health] minister [Edwin Poots} has said his controversial decision – to deny gay men the opportunity to donate blood – is based on two pieces of evidence — a letter from the Minister for Health in the Republic and a document on the issue by the European Department for the Quality of Medicines and Healthcare (EDQMH).
The letter from Dr James Reilly TD (above) sent to Mr Poots at the end of May said that the lifetime ban on gay men donating blood exists in Ireland “is based not only on risk factors for HIV but on other blood borne agents known to be associated with MSM (men who have sex with men) behaviour”.
The ban on gay men giving blood in Northern Ireland is irrational, A High Court judge ruled today.
Mr Justice Treacy also held that health minister Edwin Poots breached the ministerial code by failing to take the issue before the Stormont Executive. His verdict in a challenge brought by an unidentified homosexual man represents a major victory for campaigners seeking equal status with the rest of the UK. Mr Justice Treacy heard claims that the minister has displayed apparent bias which went beyond religious beliefs and into the realms of prejudice.
Further to the confirmation by Minister for Health James Relly (above) that medical card holders who have cancer will lose their card unless they have a written note from their doctor saying the condition is terminal.
Dermot Bohan writes:
I would be much appreciated if you brought some attention to these new developments concerning cancer patients and the medical card on broadsheet.ie in case it goes under the radar with all the press coverage the abortion debate is getting at the moment.
I am literally shaking with rage after reading these articles.
I watched my father fight and ultimately lose a battle with cancer over a number of years and one of the feelings I remember was thinking that at least we’re not alone in this and the state actually cares.
To see the horrible effect that the treatment, let alone the disease itself, has on the sufferer is horrendous. After receiving chemo treatment, the patient can barely move, with all energy knocked out of them, they need to focus all their available energy on fighting this disease without the added worry of having to raise the funds to pay for all the treatment and medicines. As you can imagine, it would be very easy to give in and give up under these circumstances.
Now the government is saying that unless there is absolutely no hope for you, don’t come calling. For me, this is truly a move that has crossed a line today. Words can not describe the contempt I am feeling for those in power right now.