I welcome all our new viewers of the first Leaders' Questions in the digital era. Perhaps we might get better answers now.
Yesterday in the House I asked the Taoiseach a simple question which required only a "Yes" or "No" answer. Has the Government asked any individual, apart from those involved in the Dolphin process, to assess the proposed sites for the national children's hospital or has any Cabinet Minister asked an independent person to assess them? The Taoiseach's answer was overwhelmingly in the negative that no such independent approach had been made. However, yesterday evening we learned through the RTE news programme that Mr. John Fitzgerald had been approached by the Government. This is the very person who not so long ago was sacked in his capacity as a member of the HSE board by the Minister for Health, Deputy James Reilly. His experience was always available for the Government to avail of, if the Minister had not got a rush of blood to the head. The bottom line is that the Taoiseach either deliberately chose to mislead the House yesterday on the question I asked, or he was not aware that Mr. Fitzgerald had been asked, or perhaps he had been misled by the Minister, just as the Minister for Education and Skills, Deputy Ruairí Quinn, was some weeks ago. I would like a clear answer from him and would like him to correct the record of the House on the issue because it raises a range of questions. Who asked Mr. Fitzgerald to review the sites following the Dolphin report? Was it the Taoiseach, the Government, the Minister for Health or the Tánaiste who, as we learned yesterday from his aides and advisers, did not trust the Minister on the issue and that they had to do their own research. Was Mr. Fitzgerald given particular terms of reference, or were the assessment criteria given to him? Was he asked to look at all of the sites, just one, or a particular number of them? The fundamental question is: why the denial and why is there secrecy around this saga? It creates suspicion that there may be an attempt to fix this issue in some shape or form. The Taoiseach needs to provide far more transparency in this process than he has to date.