Cabinet is today expected to sign off on the establishment of a new cross-party committee to look at the long-term future of the health system.

Ministers will also discuss a memo on the new budget process. This system which is part of the programme for government aims to give parliamentary ownership and more transparency to the budget system.

Health Minister Simon Harris is to bring a motion for approval by Cabinet to allow for the establishment of an all-party group to come up with a 10-year plan for the health service.

Welcoming the move Social Democrats joint leader Róisín Shortall said the motion is broadly based on one which was circulated and signed by 89 TDs last week.

“The fundamental basis of this motion was to form an All-Party Committee that would report within six months with a view to agreeing a 10-year strategy,” said Ms Shortall.

“This strategy would have the ultimate goal of achieving a single-tier universally accessible health service while switching the emphasis to a primary care model of healthcare.

“The amendments proposed by the minister to do not alter that premise and therefore we are happy that he seeks Cabinet approval for the motion and agreement on the establishment of the All-Party Committee at the earliest opportunity.”

Cross-party body to examine health service’s budget and long-term future

Ministers are also due to discuss water charges at today’s meeting with fine Gael tabling a counter motion to a Sinn Féin motion to scrap Irish Water. Yesterday, junior minister John Halligan first said he would likely be supporting the opposition motion, but later rowed back on this after viewing Fine Gael’s counter motion.

Separately, Taoiseach Enda Kenny is expected to announce 11 nominations to the Seanad later this week.

Among those tipped for positions in the Upper House are former health minster James Reilly, who lost his Dáil seat in the general election.

If appointed to the Seanad, Mr Reilly could stay on as deputy leader of the Fine Gael parliamentary party.

There is also speculation that Averil Power will be chosen after Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone lobbied for her nomination. The former Fianna Fáil TD competed for but missed out on a seat in both the general and Seanad elections.

Other names being tipped for a Seanad nomination are Anne Marie Dermody, who ran for the Dáil in Dublin South West, as well as Sean Barrett, Paudie Coffey, and Michelle Mulherin.


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