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A Bad Week

September 28th, 2012 · No Comments · Irish Politics

Labour party members received an email from Eamon Gilmore this afternoon.  Subject is ‘a bad week’, it appears to be an attempt to soothe concerned/upset members.  He’s been busy while away in New York. I doubt Róisín Shortall will be that impressed.

Dear ,


* The resignation of Roisin Shortall has been a great disappointment to me and something I would prefer hadn’t happened..

* Roisin has been a valued colleague for many years and has made a huge contribution to the Labour Party recently in her role as Junior Minister in the Department of Health and previously as one of our most resolute and prolific spokespersons in Opposition, and as a member of the Public Accounts Committee.

* She is somebody for whom I have the highest regard and who had worked extremely hard in her portfolio in the Department of Health.


* Yesterday I proposed Alex White as Minister of State at the Department of Health with responsibility for Primary Care and I’m looking forward to working with him in his new role in implementing the commitments in the Programme for Government on health service reforms.

* As he has shown in his role as Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure & Reform and previously as Labour Leader in the last Seanad, Alex is a politician of immense ability and intellect, and as a public representative, is Labour through and through.

* I have no doubt that he will prove to be an excellent addition to Labour’s ministerial ranks.



* Labour has long advocated a shift towards primary care services as the fairest way of advancing efficient health care.

* To fulfil that commitment, I worked very closely with Roisin in advancing the important reform of primary health care through the political system, particularly in recent weeks and months, as did my ministerial colleagues and staff in my office. And let’s be clear, working together we made significant progress:

  • As part of the reform towards universal primary care, with the removal of cost as a barrier, we are extending free GP care to categories under the Long Term Illness Scheme.
  • Legislation to provide for this phased extending of a publicly funded GP service without fees will be introduced in the Oireachtas in the coming weeks.
  • The Programme for Government committed to Primary Care Centres as a priority area. As part of that commitment, funding of €115 million has already been earmarked for primary care centres across the country. These primary care centres have the potential to meet 95% of people’s day-to-day health and social care needs.
  • These Primary Care Centres will effectively act as a one-stop shop that will provide the first point of contact for the majority of the population in the years ahead, along with taking the pressure of our acute hospitals.

* It is sad and disappointing that Roisin will not be there to see these measures through to their conclusion, given the great work she has already done in these areas.

* But Labour in Government is committed to implementing the commitment in the Programme for Government to fundamentally reform primary health care.



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