Health Minister just took Social Democrats policy, says Shortall

Roisin Shortall has accused Simon Harris of taking the Social Democrats' plans for the health service.

Health Minister just took Social Democrats policy, says Shortall

Roisin Shortall has accused Simon Harris of taking the Social Democrats' plans for the health service.

In one of his first interviews since he was appointed Minister for Health in the new Cabinet on Friday, Fine Gael's Simon Harris claimed he had a 10-year plan for the sector.

He also said he needed cross-party support for his ideas and promised to take politics out of the portfolio.

Among the other changes we could see is an extension of free GP care to the under 12s by the end of this year, and free visits for under 18s within the lifetime of the Government.

However, Social Democrats co-leader Roisin Shortall said the plans came from her party.

"We've been working on this for the last few weeks, we have a very comprehensive Dáil motion ready to run, we have a majority of TDs signing up to that Dáil motion," she said.

"Look," she added, "Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, let us say.

"I was surprised, I smiled when I heard him coming up with this idea because it was exactly what I discussed with him on Friday night."

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