Friday, September 28, 2012



The Government faced another shock  yesterday as Roisin Shortall, Minister of State at the Department of Health suddenly resigned Wednesday night following last week's turmoil in the Health Department and the vote of no confidence in Dail Eireann against Health Minister Dr. James Reilly. In the debate on the no confidence motion, Deputy Shortall sharply criticised failings in the Health Department since the Government took office and pointedly did not offer personal support to Dr Reilly in her statement to the House.

In a brief statement, Deputy Shortall outlined the reasons for her resignation:

“It is with regret that I have today tendered my resignation as Minister of State at the Department of Health to An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny. I have also informed the Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore, that I am resigning the Parliamentary Labour Party whip.
It is no longer possible for me to fulfil my role as Minister of State for Primary Care because of lack of support for the reforms in the programme for government and the values which underpin it.
The public have a right to expect that decisions on health infrastructure and staffing will be made in the public interest based on health need and not driven by other concerns.
This decision comes after repeated and lengthy efforts to reach agreement on the implementation of the Programme for Government both within the Department of Health and across Government.
Róisín Shortall”.

This means there are four Labour Party deputies now resigned from the party whip as Ms Shortall joins Willlie Penrose, Patrick Nulty and Tommy Broughan already there and serious questions now arise about the leadership of Tanaiste Eamonn Gilmore as the Government faces more Labour party unrest over the terms of the coming austerity budget in December. Ms Shortall is the second Labour Party Minister of State to resign from the Government since its formation.

Gilmore's unconditional support in the recent no confidence debate for the beleaguered Reilly obviously irked Ms Shortall no end and led to Wednesday's cruise missile into the Coalition camp. Many press and political commentators today have suggested that “the wrong minister has resigned”. The latest development in this saga undermines recent statements from Taoiseach and Tanaiste that the Government would run its full term of five years. 

Áth Cliath/Dublin
MeánFhomhair/September 28 2012

No comments: