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James Reilly stands over Primary Care centre decision-making processes

Explaining the three-part criteria for prioritising locations, Reilly called the process “transparent”.

James Reilly in the Dáil tonight
James Reilly in the Dáil tonight
Image: Oireachtas TV

HEALTH MINISTER JAMES Reilly says he stands over the decision-making processes used in relation to the development of primary care centres in Ireland and moved to defend the allocation of centres in his own constituency.

Speaking in the Dáil tonight, the Minister said that he “stands over” the manner in which a list of 35 priority areas were chosen, as well as the criteria that was used throughout the process. Responding to a question from Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher, Reilly said that he was “happy to explain whatever aspect [he] fails to understand.”

Yesterday, junior minister Róisín Shortall resigned over a number of issues, including the prioritisation of certain primary care centres in Balbriggan and Swords.

Reilly insisted that both areas were made high priority “as far back as 2007″, adding that the situations there had worsened in the past five years because of high unemployment and growing populations.

He cited the lack of public transport from Swords to a local hospital and the lack of primary care facilities in Balbriggan.

Explaining the three-part criteria for prioritising locations, Reilly called the process “transparent”. He said the widening of criteria was a good move for the health system.

Under the original priority system used to create Shortall’s shortlist of 20, both areas would have been in the top 35 but a change to the weighting of criteria meant they fell off. His changes, made in consultation with the HSE to lengthen the list, meant they climbed back up the ladder.

The Minister also reiterated his praise of Shortall’s “hard work and commitment” towards Primary Care and welcomed the nomination of Labour’s Alex White. He said he hopes that the new appointment will continue the outgoing Minister of State’s work on alcohol in Irish society, something he described as a “scourge”.

More: Reilly welcomes Alex White appointment, thanks Shortall for ‘hard work’>

Read: Alex White to replace Shortall as junior health minister>

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