Belfast Telegraph

Doubt over Reilly care home claims

Doubt has been cast over Health Minister James Reilly's claims that he had no role in the running of a nursing home he has a stake in, it has been claimed.

After explaining why he was named in Stubbs Gazette over a 1.9 million euro debt in the Green Hills investment, opposition politicians said the former GP's intervention in an industrial dispute contradicts his defence.

Under fire over alleged conflict of interest for being invested in private care while running the Department of Health, Dr Reilly said his 9% stake was in the Tipperary premises only. He said he had no role in operations.

Fianna Fail's Billy Kelleher claimed the latest revelations cast doubt over the accuracy of Dr Reilly's attempt to explain why he was named in Stubbs - a first for Irish politics.

"As new information begins to emerge, the minister should move quickly to correct that mistake and make himself available for detailed questioning," the party's health spokesman said. "Additionally, as his statement sinks in, more and more people will wonder why a man of such conspicuous wealth would need to sell his interest in a nursing home before complying with a High Court order."

Dr Reilly insisted he has never had any role for the on-the-ground operations at Green Hills.

His spokesman confirmed that in 2002, before Dr Reilly entered politics and while he was a senior figure for the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), he contacted the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) over a dispute at the nursing home.

"The INMO has confirmed to me that contact between the IMO and the INMO on issues of industrial relations is, and was, not infrequent," said the spokesman. "Dr Reilly's contact with the INMO on an issue related to industrial relations can be seen in that context. It must be that a concern had been conveyed to him related to industrial relations that it was felt could be resolved. This does not detract from Dr James Reilly's clear statement showing that the ownership and management of the nursing home business is entirely a matter for Dr Dilip Jondhale and his colleagues."

In his explanation of the ill-fated investment, Dr Reilly set out a trail of complex legal battles, lease disputes and repeated failures to find a buyer which led to him breaching a court order to repay his share of the 1.9 million euro debt. He maintained the investment is not a conflict of interest. Dr Reilly was entitled to be bought out in June 2011 but lawyers repeatedly failed to secure a buyer.

Both Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore have said they have full confidence in Dr Reilly.

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