Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has denied that the expected €600m-plus health service overspend this year will damage his budget plans — despite admitting the system will need a substantial extra cash injection before December.
Mr Donohoe outlined the situation as opposition parties demanded clear answers on how the growing “black hole” in health finances can be addressed without new taxes or frontline service cutbacks.
Speaking to reporters at the opening of a primary care centre in Grangegorman, Dublin, Mr Donohoe said while he accepts there are problems in the health budget, they can be overcome.
Denying his budget plans will have to be curtailed and that either new taxes or fresh service cutbacks are inevitable, he said a supplementary health budget likely to exceed €600m will be made available before December.
Before the summer, I informed the budgetary oversight committee that a supplementary budget will be needed and that after the summer we will confirm the level of that,” he said.
“That is what we will do. It will not influence other choices we make in relation to tax and social welfare.”
Sinn Féin health spokesman Jonathan O’Brien criticised the comment last night.