Minister’s interest has been declared for years, why only now are claims being levelled?
Fine Gael Meath West Deputy, Damien English, has today (Thursday) said the claims being levelled against the Minister for Health, James Reilly TD, by the Opposition that the Minister has a conflict of interest due to his part-ownership of a nursing home premises, represent blatant political opportunism and a naked attempt at political point scoring.
Deputy English went on to say that the Minister’s interest in this property has been well documented for years, having been declared on the Register of Member’s Interest since Dr. Reilly was first elected to the Dáil.
“Any attempt by the Opposition to now suggest that there is a conflict of interest, where the Minister and the Greenhills Nursing Home are concerned, is completely disingenuous and a blatant attempt at political point scoring by those involved.
“Minister Reilly has at all times acted with complete propriety, declaring his interests as set out under the relevant legislation. It should be noted that the Minister began his attempts to divest his interest while in Opposition, before his appointment to Cabinet.
“The Minister is not, and never has been, involved in the running of the Greenhills Nursing Home, which is run by independent operators. For the last 18 months, Minister Reilly, whose interest in the property is a minority one at just 9%, has been making every effort to sell his share in this asset, and has sought the advice of SIPO in doing so.
“Minister Reilly’s interest in this property has been well documented and has been in the public domain for years. Why only now is the Opposition attempting to make political capital by suggesting that a conflict of interest exists? This is blatant political opportunism at its most worst.
“The Minister will shortly be announcing an initiative to enable older people to stay in their homes, as opposed to going into long term residential care, with an investment of €28 million being made to that end. Minister Reilly’s primary interest is in healthcare reform, not for any political or financial gain, but in a bid to deliver first rate care for all of our citizens.”