Wednesday, 3 October 2012
Dáil Éireann Debate
[Deputy Joe Higgins: ] Have any representatives of the Minister had discussions with this person? Was the Minister kept informed of circumstances as they developed? What role did he play in the selection of the site in question?
An Ceann Comhairle: The Chair has ruled on many occasions that allegations of a serious nature against any Member of this House can be made only by way of a substantive motion. To suggest that people are acting corruptly or improperly is not in order. I remind Deputies that this has been the tradition in this House for as long as the records show.
Deputy James Reilly: Deputy Joe Higgins should note that the site is under the control of NAMA and that, as a consequence, Mr. Murphy does not gain. NAMA gains if there is any gain. NAMA represents the people in trying to get back the moneys that were lost. The people of Balbriggan, whom I support, also gain. Balbriggan is a town that has seen its population double in ten years and has the second highest unemployment density in the greater Dublin area. The town was chosen by the HSE in 2007 and 2008, and proposals on both it and Swords were brought to the board of the HSE in 2008 and were approved. Therefore, the need is long established, as is the priority. I consider it an insult to the people of Swords and Balbriggan to say to them that the only way they can get what they deserve and need, according to proven, independent individuals, is through political stroke pulling.
I want to answer the Deputy's other questions directly. I have no business connection with Mr. Murphy. I had no discussions with him about the primary care centre and I have absolutely no role in the selection of a site. As I stated on the radio today, the only site over which I have control and which I did not want included because I was becoming Minister for Health is the site I own in Swords. I hope that clarifies the matter.
Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Has the Minister established why Mr. Murphy sought at first to distance himself from him and said he had only seen the Minister on television? A photograph, of course, speaks a thousand words, and that is what we saw this morning.
Deputy James Reilly: I also mentioned alligators; I will not go beyond that. It was reported this morning that Mr. Murphy said he sees me on television. I made the point this morning on the radio programme, which the Deputy clearly listened to or had someone listen to and transcribe-----
Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: I listened to it.
Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: Interestingly, we do not know the Minister's answer.
Deputy James Reilly: I did not interrupt Deputy Ó Caoláin and would like him to show me the same courtesy. Many people say to me that, because they do not see that much of me in my constituency since my job is of such considerable importance to the future well-being of the people, the only time they see me is on television. I am sure this is what Mr. Murphy was alluding to. However, I do not know how Mr. Murphy's mind works and will leave him to explain the matter himself if he chooses to do so. If Deputy Ó Caoláin had listened to the radio programme this morning, as he says he did, he will know I was in contact with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform because the stimulus package had to go to him for final sign-off and Government approval.
Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin: What about the redacted locations identified through a freedom of information request?
Deputy Billy Kelleher: The Minister seems to be confused because we are not casting aspersions on his integrity in respect of whether there was a cosy deal done with Mr. Murphy. The point of the exercise is to get to the bottom of why names of towns, including Ballaghaderreen and Kilkenny and two locations in the Minister's constituency, appeared on a list although they were not on that list before that.
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