Byline: Valerie Hanley
HEALTH Minister James Reilly has refused to say how much debt may be outstanding on his doomed bid to build a [euro]15m medical centre in North Dublin - and whether he is still servicing any possible debt on the proposed development.
Fine Gael's deputy leader and two other GPs had planned to develop a [euro]15m, 10,000sq.m one-stop shop health centre at the busy Airside Retail Park near Dublin Airport before the plan ran aground.
Dr Reilly and his two partners in the Airside medical centre got a loan from Ulster Bank to help them develop the site, which is now believed to be worth a fraction of its original price.
News of the failed venture came in the same week that Dr Reilly was named in debt defaulters publication Stubbs Gazette with four co-investors for failing to pay a [euro]1.9m debt in connection with the Greenhills nursing home in Carrick-on-Suir, Co.
Tipperary. Dr Reilly made a detailed statement to the Dail last week to explain why he is in breach of a High Court order to pay the debt.
In his statement, the minister was at pains to assure the house that everything was in hand as far as his finances are concerned. He claimed to have acted with 'complete propriety' and said: 'Every effort is being made to resolve matters.' However last week Dr Reilly was much less forthcoming when asked by the MoS about the failed Airside development.
On Thursday, Dr Reilly's office was asked in writing how much he owed on Airside, and whether he was still servicing the debt.
These simple questions were designed to obtain clarity as to whether Dr Reilly was facing financial concerns on top of his [euro]1.9m unpaid debt over the nursing home.
However, despite several reminders, no answers to the simple questions were forthcoming. Finally on Saturday his official spokesman told the MoS: 'I am not in a position to provide the financial details requested'.
The MoS pointed out that this answer could be seen as raising questions his marks over Dr Reilly's ability to repay hsi debts. However a detailed answer was still not given.
When pressed about whether Dr Reilly was experiencing financial difficulties, the spokesman said he was unable to contact the minister. …