The medical practice owned by Fine Gael's health spokesman Dr James Reilly received over €340,000 in payments under the medical- card scheme last year, according to new figures released by the HSE last week.
A fervent and frequent critic of the HSE, Reilly was paid over €263,186 by the HSE last year to treat 1,600 medical card holders and a further €78,000 to maintain, equip and staff his clinic in Lusk, north Co Dublin.
The surgery in Lusk is in a commercial shopping centre, which includes shops, restaurants and betting shops, which Reilly lists as part of his property holdings in the Dáil register of interests.
The Fine Gael TD was identified in the HSE list as Dr James MacDonnell-Reilly and was in the top 400 of the 2,200 GPs paid under the scheme.
During this time, Reilly was also in receipt of a salary of over €100,000 plus expenses of around €50,000 for his 'day job' as a TD.
A Fine Gael spokeswoman told the Sunday Tribune that the payments were made to cover Dr Reilly's practice, which employs 12 staff – two full-time doctors, three nurses, a practice manager and four other staff.
"Dr Reilly rarely practises there himself", added the spokeswoman.
But she declined to comment on whether the HSE payments to Dr Reilly represented a conflict of interest with his role as opposition spokesman on health.
Should Reilly become minister for health, any conflict of interest would become all the greater as he could be involved in negotiations with GPs to cut or vary the payments to doctors to treat medical-card patients.
Reilly's Dáil colleague and former sports minister Dr Jim McDaid received over €213,000 from the HSE for his practice in Letterkenny.
The largest payment of over €767,000 went to a Dr Catherine Coleman, who operates a practice in Phibsborough, on Dublin's northside.
Dr John McManus, husband of Labour TD Liz McManus, who has consistently been among the best paid GPs in the country, received over €616,000 for his practice in Bray, Co Wicklow.