Concerns over who knew what and when about the HSE suggestion to close the A&E unit in Our Lady’s hospital in Navan.
The questions re-emerged after LMFM’s Michael Reade show had a request for all email correspondence between Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, his department and the HSE between the beginning of May and the end of July this year declined by the department of health.
The Department of Health argued that a total of 22 emails could not be released in full on the grounds of “public interest”.
Interestingly it appeared to leave room for the request to be resubmitted as it said, “the potential of the release of records to impair a future decision”, as well as “the potential for premature release of records to impair the integrity and viability of the decision-making process”, which would suggest if a request is submitted following any definitive decision on the future of the A&E it might be looked on favourably.
Despite the refusal to release the contents of the emails, the Department’s response to the FOI request did include a schedule of the 22 emails that were sent during the period.
This shows that on June 21st, Paul Reid sent an email to the Department of Health’s Secretary General, Robert Watt.
No response was received by Mr Reid before the following Sunday when he made the decision to tell RTÉ Radio 1’s ‘This Week that the A&E will close and that it would be a mistake for the minister to use his powers to direct the HSE to halt its plans.
An email was then received by Mr Reid from Mr Watt on the Wednesday (29th June) after the interview, two days after the HSE boss announced his resignation from the role at the end of this year.