Friday 21 July 2017

Children's hospital debate is 'finished' despite increasing costs, says Kenny

Mattie McGrath. Photo: Tom Burke
Mattie McGrath. Photo: Tom Burke
John Downing

John Downing

The debate over where to locate the Children's Hospital is over, despite rising costs and complaints from campaign groups, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said.

There is mounting pressure to review the decision to build the new hospital on a site at St James's Hospital in Dublin.

And the Dáil heard yesterday that the cost of the project has risen from €480m to over €1bn without any fit-out costs.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath blasted the decision, saying the costs were like a "runaway train".

The Rural Alliance TD for Tipperary said the projected cost overruns could fund a resolution of the public pay crux and fix health service problems like those at Clonmel Hospital.

"The Taoiseach should think about the staggering figures, pinch himself and ask the new minister about them.

"This cannot be allowed to continue because we will end up having inquiries about it in here in years to come," he said.

However, Mr Kenny said that after years of discussion about the location "that argument is finished and a decision has been made.

"Any of the associated costs will be for the single biggest construction project in this country for very many years, to look after all the children of the island, North and South, and it will be a magnificent achievement for a country that prides itself on family and children.

"At long last they will have a world-class facility for the next 50 years or beyond," Mr Kenny said.

He said there will be a focus on the value-for-money process.

"It will be the subject of a formal memo very shortly and I hope that arising from that, everybody will understand the scale, nature and requirement of this particular project, which is in the interests of all the children of this island for the next two generations at least."

Mr McGrath said the project should be located at the Connolly hospital site as it would allow access to a maternity unit.

Irish Independent

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