Minister Halligan says he does not want to leave Government but 'may be forced to'

Junior Minister John Halligan does not wish to resign from Government but said he may be forced to do so if promises over services at University Hospital Waterford are not fulfilled.

The Independent Alliance TD has been at loggerheads with his fellow members of Government — whom he criticised over the weekend — over the provision of a second ‘cath lab’ in Waterford.

After refusing to accept alternative offers made by Health Minister Simon Harris, the Waterford TD appears to have backed himself into a corner.

In a sensational interview at the weekend Mr Halligan said he would “bring all hell down on top of them if they don’t deliver this”.

Yesterday, he appeared to row back slightly, saying he “really does not want to leave Government”.

But speaking to RTÉ news, Mr Halligan said: “I will step down if I have to,” adding that he did “regret that it has come to this”.

One Fine Gael TD hit out yesterday, claiming that the “inflammatory language” Mr Halligan had used in what he called “an extraordinary interview” over the weekend was not helpful.

Noel Rock said: “He really needs to think whether he really wants to be in Government.

“As far as I am aware, this is his second, if not third direct fight over various issues, and the business of Government is often the business of compromise.”

Mr Halligan fought hard in Government negotiation talks to secure additional health services for the South East. It was agreed between the Independent Alliance and Fine Gael during those talks that a second ‘cath lab’, used in the treatment of heart problems, would be provided to the hospital in Waterford, pending a review.

This review was commissioned by Mr Harris in May.

However, cardiologist Dr Niall Herity, who was tasked with carrying out the review, concluded that Waterford does not need a second cath lab.

Over the weekend Mr Halligan said: “I am not going to be fucked over by anybody. I don’t care if it is the man on the street or some guy threatening me. And you can print that.

“What they should do now, if they believe I am destabilising the Government, is put me out,” he told the Sunday Independent.

Mr Rock criticised Mr Halligan for his interviews, stating that this kind of “inflammatory language ... isn’t really helping what is fundamentally a constituency conflict”.

The Dublin North-West TD said: “Minister Halligan wants something for his constituency and was promised a review into it; the review said that it wasn’t appropriate to give it.

“However, what Minister Harris has said, the Minster for Health, is that they will improve the services and try to bridge that gap in services.

“Minister Halligan isn’t happy about that and has decided to reject the advice of the experts and now seemingly wants a new set of experts to give the answer that he wants ultimately,” he told RTÉ’s This Week programme.

“As far as I am aware, this is his second, if not third direct fight over various issues and the business of Government is often the business of compromise.”


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