Tuesday, 16 November 2004
Bertie Ahern (Taoiseach; Dublin Central, Fianna Fail)
I did not speak to Professor Halligan so I cannot give precise details. The Government had been in negotiation with him during the summer about conditions, moving and related issues. We had finalised a very satisfactory package. It was well known that Professor Halligan was probably coming here, although it was generally expected in the medical business in the UK that he would have got the top job there. He had agreed and signed up but, on reflection, he decided to stay in the UK for family reasons. That is his purpose. I wish him well in the top job in the UK, which he will probably get.
With regard to the Health Service Executive, we have laid down in the reforms over recent years what we are seeking to do. It has been clearly set out. There was an enormous round of discussions based on the Prospectus, Brennan and other consultants' reports and now we will implement them. Of course, change creates problems and difficulties but with the goodwill of everybody we will have a better service that will help individual patients. That is the purpose of the reforms.