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White joins race for leadership despite medical card fiasco


Alex White. Photo: Tom Burke

Alex White. Photo: Tom Burke

Alex White. Photo: Tom Burke

JUNIOR health minister Alex White has blamed the Cabinet for the medical card fiasco — despite having direct responsibility for the issue.

Launching his bid to become Labour Party leader, Mr White also repeatedly declined to apologise to medical-card holders for the trauma they were put through.

Following a halt being called to the review of discretionary medical cards, he says the Government was “slow to respond” to the controversy.


The junior minister denies being involved in the “shafting” of Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore.

Mr White has also admitted he was backing the motion of no confidence and had intended to tell the Tanaiste of his support for the move.

Yet he denies he was threatening to resign.

Mr White confirmed he had intended to go to Mr Gilmore and tell him of his intention 
as a minister to back the motion.

“I would go to the Tanaiste at 3pm and tell him I would support the motion of no confidence. My continuance in office would be a matter for him,” he said.

The minister said Labour suffered “very serious losses” in last weeks local and European elections.


“While we have strained the loyalty of our supporters on many occasions since we entered government in 2011, the scale of our defeat in recent elections demonstrates a clear disconnect with our traditional support base,” he said.

Social Protection Minister and Dublin West TD Joan Burton announced earlier this week that she was running to be Labour leader.

Mr White is so far the only candidate opposing her.

Meanwhile, three rural Labour TDs have thrown their names in the hat for the deputy leadership.

They are junior transport minister Alan Kelly, from Tipperary, another junior minister Sean Sherlock and Deputy Michael McCarthy — both from Cork.