This week’s motion of no confidence in the Minister for Health is the only credible response to the reality of what is happening under James Reilly. Before the election he personally led a deeply cynical campaign on health. He promised that he and Fine Gael would make sure that no one lost any services and a whole new set of free services would be provided.
After running a briefing campaign to protect his budget he announced that he had enough money to fully deliver his service commitments.
We never believed this and have been relentless during this year in questioning him about services and budgets. He repeatedly assured us and the Dáil that everything was fine under his personal management. He repeated like a mantra that frontline services were being protected.
This was untrue and health services are now being subject to a round of mean-spirited emergency cuts which Minister Reilly was denying while already implementing them.
Before the full force of his management has had its impact, waiting lists are rising, services are being closed and there is a deep sense of despair in the sector.
There is no precedent for a situation where the Taoiseach praises a minister for being brave in reversing cuts while the Minister is still claiming that the cuts never existed.