Health chiefs in costly PR drive for build
HEALTH bosses looking to build the new national children's hospital on a controversial city centre site are to hire a PR firm on a lucrative new contract to promote the plan to the public.
The board overseeing the plan to build at the site of the Mater Hospital in Dublin has put a new five-year contract out to tender for PR advice as well "management and consultancy".
The decision to locate the €650m hospital at the Mater has been criticised by those who want it built outside the city centre.
Although no figures are available for how much the new PR contract will be worth, it is certain to run to hundreds of thousands of euro.
The move comes after Health Minister Mary Harney warned of a possible €1bn in cutbacks to health services in this year's Budget.
It also comes weeks after the former chairman of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board, the body overseeing the new children's hospital, warned the project was at "serious risk" because of lack of funds.
Philip Lynch also dramatically resigned from the board, which yesterday published the tender for the five-year PR contract.
The tender asks for applications for "public relations advisory, management and consultancy services" from companies used to handling such big projects. The handling agency, Beauchamps Solicitors, did not provide a figure for how much the contract is worth.
But other PR agencies, such as Q4 public relations, have been given two-year contracts worth €200,000 by state agencies in the past two years.