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Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Minister Burton: Health Minister Reilly is "working flat out"

The Minister for Social Protection said she has confidence in the health minister, and that reforming the health system is difficult.

SOCIAL PROTECTION MINISTER Joan Burton has said that Health Minister James Reilly is “working flat out”.

She made the comments on Newstalk Breakfast this morning, where she was speaking about the new free mortgage advice to be given to some property owners, as well as the recent health cuts announced by Minister Reilly.

Minister Burton said:

The Government is united in getting this country through the IMF programme and out the other side and back to the international markets. That means for every minister in the government there is a very strong requirement to look at all expenditure and manage expenditure in a way that will help the country to recover and get back to economic stability.

While speaking on Morning Ireland, she said that in relation to today’s Irish Times report that €50 million allocated to develop mental health and primary services is to be used to offset the HSE deficit,  “lets see what the minister is actually proposing to do. I understand the minister is working on the details at the moment”.

She told Newstalk that she is “sure [Minister Reilly] will be coming back to government with more details of what he prepares to do” and said that “mental health is a priority as is the development of community health services”.

Minister Burton said that she hasn’t had the opportunity to have a briefing from Minister Reilly on the issue.


When asked if she has confidence in the Health Minister, she said that “every minister in this government has to have confidence in every other minister” because as a government they went out “and asked people for a mandate to get this country back to economic stability”.

She said that that is the job of Minister Reilly, and he has to “do it in a way that actually strengthens our health services”.

Minister Burton said that Reilly’s special delivery unit “has had quite good outcomes for patients”, but:

reforming a very big system like the health system is  difficult and Minister Reilly is working flat out.

The Minister told Morning Ireland that she has undertaken a whole series of reforms in her department and that “we are putting together a much, much stronger service that the end of the day I hope will cost less and will give better benefits and service delivery”.

Read: Explainer: Why is Health Minister James Reilly under pressure?>

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