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'Cum spiro, spero': Reilly hopes there won't be an overrun in the health budget

The Health Minister probably meant ‘dum spiro, spero’…

James Reilly
James Reilly
Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

HEALTH MINISTER JAMES Reilly quoted a Latin motto to express his hope that there will not be another overrun in the health budget for this year despite expectations that this will be the case.

Amid reports that the health budget could overrun by as much as €100 million this year, Reilly said there were increased pressures on services and changes in demand which had been one per cent more than expected this year.

“I am saying: ‘cum spiro, spero’. Like our good friends the Romans used to say: ‘where’s there’s life, there’s hope’ and we’ll keep working until the last minute to make it happen,” he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

The Health Minister probably meant ‘dum spiro, spero’ which translates from Latin as ‘while I breathe, I hope’, a motto that is paraphrased from the writings of Roman philosopher Cicero.

He said that the reports of an overrun had to taken in the context of €3 billion being taken out of the health budget in the “last several years”, a population increase and a rise in emergency admissions.

“We are demand led service, we are given a finite sum of money, we get an increased demand, it’s very difficult to square that circle,” Reilly said.

Not giving up the fight

He  added that he had has not “given up the fight and neither has the HSE” on keeping the budget under control for this year.

On the same programme, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin said that “James has done a sterling job” and according to figures at the end of September was “right on the button” in terms of his budget.

Meanwhile, Reilly also confirmed plans to bring the heads of a Bill to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes to the Oireachtas Health Committee later this month where he said he will be happy to hear submissions from tobaccos companies.

But he expressed determination to to introduce plain packaging, adding: “I think it is critically important that we denormalise smoking.”

Reilly said that he has the “100 per cent” backing of Enda Kenny when asked about recent reports that the Taoiseach has been lobbied by tobacco companies.

Read: Reilly wants Ireland tobacco-free by 2025

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Hugh O'Connell

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