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'I hope he survives': Senator Crown doesn't think Reilly has been given the chance he needs in health

Earlier this week Reilly said the health budget had run over by €158 million.

Minister for Health James Reilly.
Minister for Health James Reilly.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

PRESSURE HAS BEEN mounting on the Minister for Health James Reilly of late with revelations emerging this week that the health budget has again overrun.

On Wednesday he said the health budget had run over by €158 million.

Coming to his defense today was the Minister for State for Foreign Affairs Joe Costello and Senator John Crown.

When asked on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics did they think that Reilly would survive as the health minister, Costello said while he couldn’t look into a “crystal ball” in relation to Reilly’s future with health, but said he thought he had “done a really good job”.

Prosperous times

Costello pointed out also that this is not the only year that the health budget has run over, stating that even in the “most prosperous times” there was an overrun.

He said that that HSE system as it stands is “dysfunctional” but said Reilly had begun work at reform.

Costello said a lot of blame lay at the feet of the Fianna Fáil administration who got rid of the health boards and replaced them with the HSE structure.

Costello said Reilly had been “doing good work” in regards the implementation of the Universal Health Insurance and the legislation for free GP care for the under 6s.

Criticisms

Senator Crown said that there were huge failings in the health system as it stands, saying that “absolutely the service has gone down”. He was critical of the long waiting lists, frontline staff reductions and the cancellation of weight reduction surgery.

However, he said “previous health ministers bare a lot of responsibility for not reforming the health service”, adding this all should have been done when we had the money.

He said he recognised that Reilly came in to the job “at a bad time” but commended him for being the only health minister to want to establish a one tier health service.

“I really don’t think he has been given the chance that he needs… I hope he survives,” said Crown.

Read: Does Enda Kenny have confidence in James Reilly?>

Read: The HSE was €158 million over budget at the end of May>

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