Sunday 4 December 2016

Planned new children’s hospital costs have 'more than doubled' to €1bn

Project costs are “runaway train” – Dáil told

Published 15/11/2016 | 14:59

Independent TD Mattie McGrath
Independent TD Mattie McGrath

Projected costs for the planned new National Children’s Hospital have more than doubled from €480m to €1bn, the Dáil has heard.

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Independent TD Mattie McGrath said the costs of the project were now spiralling out of control and were a “runaway train.”

The Rural Independent Alliance TD for Tipperary said he still opposed plans to locate the hospital at St James’s Hospital in central Dublin.

But he said the projected cost over-runs could fund a resolution of the public pay crux and fix health service problems like those at Clonmel Hospital.

“What is staggering is that these costs exclude fit-out costs for equipment and IT,” Mr McGrath argued.  He asked the Taoiseach if he wanted to be remembered in the future as the person who presided over such huge cost over-runs.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the planned new hospital would provide children’s health services for the next 50 years. He said the matter would be subject of a memo to Government from Public Spending Minister, Paschal Donohoe, and Health Minister, Simon Harris.

Mr Kenny said value for money would be central to government deliberations.

Replying to Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, the Taosieach said there would be “an orderly process” to deal with public service pay. But he said nobody wanted to wreck the economic gains made in recent years.

Mr Adams said the Taoiseach had given no indication of when or how new public service pay talks would begin. He urged Mr Kenny to avoid “macho posturing” on the issue which he said Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin, was engaging in.

The Fianna Fáil leader focused on what he said was the funding crisis in the Institutes of Technology countrywide. Mr Kenny said a new third level college funding plan was currently being prepared.

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