€195k in Lotto funds for Reilly’s constituency

The opposition has accused James Reilly, the health minister, of stroke politics once again after it emerged his constituency received €195,000 in lottery funding from the Department of Health last year.

Dublin North benefited from a further €228,500 in 2011 compared to the €10,000 of National Lottery funding it received from the department in 2010, before Dr Reilly took over the portfolio.

In total, the department distributed €3.3m to 140 community organisations last year — 12 of which were in the minister’s constituency.

Most of the money is used to help provide health services to groups such as the elderly or people with disabilities.

A spokesman for the minister said all the funding that was made available was for “deserving projects related to people’s health services”.

He said the funding is usually made available on a once-off basis for organisations that apply because they are ready to make a certain investment.

He said a “wide range” of organisations benefited in 2012, including senior citizens’ groups, carers’ groups, groups dealing with autism, and others.

But Billy Kelleher, the Fianna Fáil spokesperson on health, accused Dr Reilly of stroke politics, adding that he had “form” in this area because of the controversy over the prioritisation of areas in his constituency for the location of primary care centres last year.

He said there should be “clear criteria” to allocate funding based on need and there should be no ministerial interference.

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