Taoiseach Enda Kenny has claimed Health Minister James Reilly’s finances are in order despite being named as a debtor in Stubbs Gazette.
Mr Kenny said the minister intended to pay back his share of a €1.9m nursing home investment that has turned sour.
Dr Reilly is to make a statement explaining his financial affairs to the Dail after he returns from Cyprus, where he has been attending European meetings.
“The Minister for Health has assured me that his affairs, in so far as his business interests are concerned, are entirely in order,” Mr Kenny said.
Dr Reilly holds the smallest stake in a €1.9m investment in a private nursing home in Tipperary, according to the Taoiseach.
It is understood a number of investors had agreed to buy out other investors but the deal has never been followed through.
Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams had suggested Dr Reilly was not fit for his role as health minister because of his vested interest in private healthcare.
He said he had questions to answer over why he ran up a debt which can be linked to a nursing home.
“Between January and May of this year, 296 public nursing home beds were closed,” Mr Adams said.
“There is currently something like 600 elderly patients who are in public hospital beds and should be out of that part of the health service and in nursing homes and there aren’t beds for them.”
Mr Adams said if Dr Reilly had a vested interest in the private nursing home, there could be a conflict of interest as he makes decisions in relation to a private nursing home, while deciding to close beds.
Dr Reilly became the first Cabinet minister to make the list of debt defaulters in the monthly business magazine, which publishes data on debtors. It also includes lists of bankrupt businesses and credit information for companies and consumers.
The minister, along with several other businessmen, invested in Green Hills private nursing home more than a decade ago.
But it is understood the deal turned sour last year and investors including Dr Reilly agreed to buy out the home from other investors for the €1.9m.
Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher said it was very disturbing to see a government minister’s name appear in the Stubbs Gazette.
“My concern would be that it distracts him from implementing his duties in terms of his role for Minister for Health,” said Mr Kelleher.
“Quite clearly, we see a lack of leadership and a drift in policy and in implementation of policy.”
In a statement last night, a spokesman for Dr Reilly said he had nothing to do with the ownership of the business side of the property.
He said he had granted power of attorney to his solicitor in relation to his business interest in the asset after becoming minister.
It is not the first of Dr Reilly’s private investments to be made public.
He came under fire last year for reportedly hiring out his stately home, the 13-bedroom Laughton House in Moneygall, Co Offaly, for weddings and christenings, while securing a tax break for its upkeep.
As well as Laughton House, which sits on a sprawling 150-acre site, Dr Reilly also owns a commercial complex in Lusk, north Dublin, which is home to a supermarket and doctors’ surgery.
Originally a GP by profession, his family home is in Rush, north Dublin, and his investment portfolio includes units housing a medical centre and pharmacy in the neighbouring town of Lusk, as well as a separate doctors’ surgery in Donabate.