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Varadkar admits Reilly move on care centres 'like stroke politics'

The transport minister tells The Week in Politics that James Reilly’s amendment of the list for primary care centres does look suspicious.

THE TRANSPORT MINISTER, Fine Gael’s Leo Varadkar, has admitted that the actions of his cabinet colleague and party deputy leader James Reilly – who added extra venues to a list of potential primary care centres – looked like “stroke politics”.

The minister told RTÉ’s The Week in Politics said, however, that he was unsure “if it is or not”, but that he trusted Reilly to act responsibly in deciding where to open the new centres.

“It does look like it,” Varadkar said when questioned by Seán O’Rourke.  ”I don’t know if it is or not.

“You know, you have to trust your colleagues to make the right decisions and make them on the right basis and I do trust Dr Reilly in that regard.

“But I don’t know all the details,” Varadkar said.

The minister also called on Reilly to patch up his differences with junior health minister Róisín Shortall, who had last week questioned the logic behind Reilly’s move to extend a list of 20 towns being considered for primary care centres.

The final published list was 35 – and included two extra towns in Reilly’s own Dublin North constituency.

Varadkar said the public wanted “ministers working together, having confidence in each other, communicating and getting things done,” and added that he was personally frustrated at how poor relations between the two ministers was distracting public attention from other government work.

“They’re due to meet next week. They should do that,” Varadkar said.

“They should settle their differences, and they should get on with doing the people’s business.”

The minister said he could not personally explain why legislation on advancing free GP care – which has been delayed to Shortall’s frustration – had not been advanced, but noted that Ireland could not currently afford to offer free GP care anyway.

Read: Reilly defends decision to consider constituency towns for new health units

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Gavan Reilly

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