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Government minister hangs up on local radio station in row over cancer services

John Perry got into a heated discussion with an Ocean FM presenter over the restoration of cancer services at Sligo General Hospital before abruptly hanging up.

John Perry
John Perry
Image: Eleanor Keegan/Photocall Ireland

GOVERNMENT MINISTER JOHN Perry abruptly hung up the phone during an interview with a regional radio station when facing questions about the plans to restore cancer services to Sligo General Hospital.

Prior to February’s election, the Minister for Small Business and Fine Gael TD for Sligo-North Leitrim said that the within the first one hundred days of the new government “the satellite facility will be restored at Sligo General Hospital.”

However when interviewed about the situation today, the minister got into a heated discussion with Ocean FM presenter Niall Delaney and appeared unable to outline just what will be happening with services at the hospital.

As the presenter and Perry spoke over each other, the minister was heard saying:

There will be a press statement…I know your agenda very well Niall at the moment…you have an agenda, yes you have indeed.

Your agenda at the moment is that I am putting the facts in the domain…

It will be all clarified on the 17 June, Niall.

You’ll be invited to the press conference I hope you attend it. Thank you Niall.

The minister then promptly hung up the phone. Listen to clip here via Ocean FM >

When contacted by TheJournal.ie this afternoon and asked about the matter, Perry said:

I said what I said and I had nothing else to add.

He admitted that he had hung up the phone, dismissing the controversy that may have caused by saying “this is not a PR issue” but an issue of “critical importance”.

He said that the restoration of the services at the hospital was important but that it was “not a situation of going in and turning the switch back on.”

He said that they had to engage with all the people connected with the services including the clinical director and the medical team at the hospital adding that at this point he was not in a position to get into the facts of the matter.

He added:

The press conference will clearly establish the facts – hopefully it will see a return of the services and that’s my objective, it couldn’t be clearer.

He insisted that he has always been “very open” about the situation and that all the information will be available on the hundreth day – “a commitment I gave at the very start.”

As the Irish Examiner points out the 17 June will be the government’s 101st day in office.

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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