The ongoing saga of the selection of primary care centres, particularly in north County Dublin, continues unabated. The more the Minister for Health, Deputy Reilly, endeavours to explain himself, the more the number of questions that need to be answered. When one stands back to consider the situation, what emerges is the fact that a Labour Party Minister of State has resigned. The public outside Leinster House are baffled by the fact that a Minister of State who was pursuing the implementation of part of the programme for Government in an open and transparent way found it necessary to resign. People do not understand why. The general sense is that she was abandoned and isolated by the Tánaiste and her senior Labour Party colleagues.
From the outset and right up until yesterday, the answers about the site selection have kept changing. I understand that the Minister for Education and Skills, Deputy Quinn, was incensed that he took a fall because he had been given the wrong information, in that the former Minister, Ms Mary Harney, was wrongly blamed yesterday for the selection. Will the Tánaiste offer a definitive answer as to when the site was selected? To put an end to this issue, will he agree to publish all documentation and advices relating to it?
In a parliamentary reply on 16 May, the Minister for Health stated that the process represented a complete adherence to the system outlined by the then Minister of State, Deputy Shortall. There was no hint of a difference or addition. In June, the Fingal Independent reported that the Minister was signalling to people publicly that Balbriggan would be added. In July, he overrode the decision of his Minister of State. Will the Tánaiste agree to publish all of the relevant documentation and advices?
The Secretary General of the Department of Health, Mr. Ambrose McLoughlin, stated that he could not confirm whether he saw the final list. Something has become more noticeable in recent replies, particularly those last Thursday, in that the Minister has stated "I personally added", "the criteria were my criteria" or "they were decided by me". The Civil Service demarcation is clearly in evidence, in that the service was removed from what occurred subsequent to Deputy Shortall's list. This is an important issue. We could sort the situation out if all of the advices and documentation were published.
Was the Tánaiste consulted by the Minister on the added sites?