Wednesday, 5 December 2012
Dáil Éireann Debate
Deputy Micheál Martin: Yesterday I received another large bundle of freedom of information documents on the selection of primary care centres and the addition of centres at Swords and Balbriggan. One might be suspicious on the eve of budget day to get such a large selection of documents because it is a classic way to bury material that the Government might not want people to see but, on a quick read through the documents, they clearly reveal a story of the selection of those sites which is much different to the one that was revealed by the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Gilmore, over repeated questions in this House, not to mention the Minister for Health, Deputy Reilly.
The key point here is that these are commercial decisions. A public private partnership, PPP, is a different model to a lease model. A lease model had been agreed. Is it right that a Minister should interfere in such a manner in the commercial arrangement which confers benefit on private sector stakeholders because the PPP model is a much more bankable proposition than the lease model? That is the key. Unfortunately, this is much more than mere political strokes.
The key question here is this. Does the Taoiseach accept that it is wrong for a Minister to get so involved in the detailed selection of public private partnerships and in the modality of the commercial relationship between the State and private sector consortia?
The Taoiseach: Deputy Martin has returned to this on a number of occasions. I am looking at the page here. I see somebody's writing that states "Taois", and then "Taoiseach" and "Tánaiste" stroked out, "signed off on Friday".
The Taoiseach: -----as distinct from locations that he would have determined by the expanded criteria that he set out.
The Taoiseach: -----is seeing that the foundations for these primary care centres are cut, contracts are put in place, workers are employed to build them and the patients and citizens of the country can have first-class facilities in primary care centres around the country.
We need a great deal more than the 20 mentioned, and that will get through from the expanded list of 35, as Deputy Martin will be aware. He himself was involved as Minister for Health at a time of unlimited funding and he failed miserably to reform the structure or to bring about a system that would provide decent health care for the people. He is coming back in here time and again trying to make a case that there was unwarranted political interference for some kind of commercial gain. Deputy Martin is wrong and he should be big enough to recognise that and get on with helping to ensure that these primary care centres are built in the interests of the people all over the country.
Deputy Micheál Martin: The Taoiseach keeps on answering questions he was never asked. That is his favourite tactic in this House. I refer to what is in black and white. I am not making this up.
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