Kathleen Lynch, the junior health minister, has said that vulnerable people will not be disproportionately affected by cuts to services in the looming health service plan.
She confirmed she had held “robust” talks within her department about any funding changes to mental health and disability. She did not deny she had threatened to resign over changes to the health budget.
Her comments came ahead of the expected publication of the HSE service plan, which as of last night, was still scheduled to be brought for discussion before Cabinet this week.
Ms Lynch said yesterday that recent revelations about top-up payments paid to charity bosses had angered people, especially with threatened cuts to services.
She said when she first got her job as minister, she was told 88% of funds in parts of the sector went on salaries.
That needed to be reformed, she said, adding: “I believe we have to have a different model of service.”
Asked if she thought revelations about top-up payments to state-funded agencies were softening up the appetite for disproportionate funding cuts in the disability area, she said no.
“People need to be reassured about that. That would not be part of the thinking or of what we intend to do. This is a not a softening up process.”
The Labour minister said services under her watch would “absolutely not” be disproportionately hit.
“We’re very careful to ensure that vulnerable people are not unduly distressed.
“And it’s not just in terms of the service plan which is not completed yet. But in terms of the negotiations in terms of the budget as well.”
Asked if she had threatened to resign, she told RTE’s This Week: “My view of the world has always been there’s no point of being in a job simply for the title. You’re there to do a job and if you can’t do that then maybe someone better can.”
Asked if her position was untenable if she did not get the resources to do her job, she answered: “I think that’s the case with most people.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Health Minister James Reilly said the publication of the HSE service plan was “imminent”.
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