Under-fire Health Minister James Reilly is facing down calls for his resignation amid fresh controversy over the selection of locations for primary care centers in his Dublin constituency.
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin has led the calls for Reilly to stand down in the wake of the latest revelations.
Reilly has been accused of more ‘stroke politics’ after it emerged that two locations in Reilly’s own constituency were added to a priority list of places for primary care centers at the last minute.
Martin said: “I urge Dr Reilly to step aside. I think his position is untenable.
“This latest story reveals that we were sold a tissue of lies in the last number of months on this issue by the Minister, the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) and the Tanaiste (deputy PM).
“This was an 11th hour decision on a political basis to change Roisin Shortall’s list and to put out a list that met James Reilly’s own political considerations and also maybe others across the Cabinet table.
“This was all an attempt to hide the truth here - we were told a pack of lies on this and I’m angry about that.”
The Irish Sun reports that the Fianna Fail leader has also maintained things had got worse since Reilly survived a motion of confidence on the issue in September.
Sinn Fein deputy Caoimhghin O Caolain claimed: “Once again this demonstrates that James Reilly’s position as Health Minister is untenable.
“His own former Junior Minister Roisin Shortall accused him of stroke politics and the alteration of a plan the night before the press launch certainly looks like a stroke.”
The paper reports that Reilly was embroiled in controversy in September when the then Labor Party junior minister Shortall resigned after it emerged that sites in Swords and Balbriggan were included in a short list of 30 selected for development.
The latest revelations show that the two sites in Reilly’s north Dublin constituency were actually added at 8pm on the night before the list was made public in July.
Now an Independent deputy, Shortall has joined in the renewed attacks on Reilly.
Shortall said: “I took a position because I didn’t think his position was tenable. I took a stand and I didn’t have much support in Cabinet.
“I wonder about Minister Reilly, given that he has brazened it out and provided ten or 12 different excuses for what he did. None of those stand up in my view.
“It’s a matter now for the Government - are they going to deliver the kind of new politics they promised or is it going to be business as usual, stroke politics and the kind of parish pump politics that has done so much damage to this country?”
No Irish Need Apply? Not anymore