At questions in the Dáil yesterday, health minister James Reilly gave no clear reason why sites in his constituency had been given priority for the development of primary care centers, over and above other locations that were previously higher on the list. He said that the HSE made the decision, not he. And the full Cabinet approved it – including the Labour ministers. But Reilly is the Minister who decides on these matters. Roisin Shortall’s resignation shows who is in charge.
This is not just a row with James Reilly over stroke politics. While Reilly himself may not make any money out of these choices, some of his friends in Fine Gael stand to gain from the further involvement of private developers in the provision of primary healthcare.
Reilly is following in Harney’s footsteps – promoting private interests and profit-making in our two-tier healthcare system. PPP’s do not provide value for money, as the cancellation of PPP education projects in Britain shows. PPPs benefit private investors, at higher costs to the state and to the users.
The coming budget will involve savage cuts to health funding, and an increasing drive to privatisation. Labour has a choice: break from Fine Gael or preside over more cuts and privatisation. We call on Labour supporters to mobilise against austerity at the pre-budget protest on November 24.