Mary Harney was among a number of former ministers for health and former heads of the HSE who Sinn Féin’s David Cullinane has “reached out to” in order to formulate a plan for health should his party get into government.
Speaking to the Mick Clifford Podcast, Mr Cullinane said he spent the first two years of this Dáil listening to people who either worked or had political responsibility for the health area.
“She [Ms Harney] gave me the best of what her wisdom is on the challenges I would face as minister and I was grateful for the opportunity to meet her," he said.
"It widens your perspective. I may meet more [former ministers], some may refuse to meet me but none have so far.
He said that if he was minister he would set up a high-level group to oversee reform consisting of his office, the minister for public expenditure, the minister for education and the Taoiseach.
“I’ve said to Mary Lou McDonald that the Taoiseach has to be as invested in success of healthcare reform as the minister does, the entire Government has to be.”
He said he would be prepared to close services if, after receiving all the advice, he came to the conclusion that was the best thing to do.
“I will make decisions and if some people see them as unpopular so be it. There would have to be very strong clinical argument made to me that something is unsafe [and should therefore be closed],” he said.
David Cullinane is this week’s guest on the Mick Clifford podcast.