Friday 22 September 2017

HSE warns budget is inadequate as children's hospital costs €1bn

An artist’s impression of the new children’s hospital. Photo: PA
An artist’s impression of the new children’s hospital. Photo: PA
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The HSE said yesterday that the current capital budget is "entirely insufficient" to deal with the range of challenges it faces.

It comes as questions are asked about the €1bn cost of building the new national children's hospital in Dublin.

The HSE said it had made provision for €68m to spend this year on the hospital - due to be built over four years. It's entire capital budget is €384m.

Labour spokesperson on finance, and member of the Oireachtas Budgetary Oversight Committee, Joan Burton, has requested a special meeting to examine the estimated costs of the proposed children's hospital.

"I wrote to the Budgetary Oversight Committee Chair, John Paul Phelan, to request a special meeting," she said. "The original figure of €650m has risen by nearly €350m - close to €1bn."

A spokeswoman for the development board overseeing the hospital said the €650m figure was approved Exchequer funding in 2014 for its core construction along with the two satellite centres.

"This funding was approved following a cost estimate commenced in 2013 and completed in early 2014," she said.

"This was done by the National Paediatric Development Board. It based the cost on estimates for building the hospital at the Mater Hospital site. It will now be built at the campus of St James's Hospital.

"At the time construction inflation was at 3pc."

The spokeswoman said that an internationally recognised design group supported by an experienced project team were in place.

BAM Ireland, one of the State's largest building contractors, has been selected to build the hospital after an international procurement process was followed.

"Local and international companies participated in the tender process," the spokeswoman added. "More than 35 people participated in review panels for the tenders which covered thousands of line items.

"The tenders were reviewed against a number of technical and financial criteria and were independently peer reviewed by construction experts with extensive experience of projects of this size and complexity. It was a highly competitive process."

Irish Independent

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