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Bad blood: Explosive email from Health Department mandarin Robert Watt reveals deep split in Cabinet over 2024 budget

Stephen Donnelly, Robert Watt and Paschal Donohoe

Hugh O'Connell

Department of Health secretary general Robert Watt warned that the health service’s budget was “not credible” or “honest” and amounted to a “clear breach” of public finance rules just days before Budget 2024 was announced, the Sunday Independent can reveal.

Watt, the top official in Health Minister Stephen Donnelly’s department, sent the email to Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe’s officials five days before the Budget. Its disclosure this weekend casts fresh doubt over the credibility of the HSE’s €22.5bn budget for next year.