Wednesday 24 July 2019

Simon Harris set to apologise to Dail over information he gave about cost of new children's hospital

Artist’s impressions of the new hospital
Artist’s impressions of the new hospital
Artist’s impressions of the new hospital
Simon Harris is expected to apologise to the Dail this week over information he provided on the cost of the new National Children’s Hospital (Niall Carson/PA)
Work under way at the site. Photo: Tony Gavin
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Health Minister Simon Harris is set to apologise to the Dáil over information he gave about the cost of building the new National Children's Hospital.

Deputy Harris was accused of misleading the Dáil as it emerged that the building of the new hospital will cost €450m more than originally expected.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin has called on Mr Harris to correct the Dail record.

Mr Harris's spokeswoman told RTÉ's This Week programme: "While the minister couldn't provide figures during commercially sensitive negotiations and because the figures were not known, he has said he wishes he had inserted some initial information - specifically reference the fact that there was a process underway to finalise pricing for Phase B (of the Children's Hospital)."

Simon Harris is expected to apologise to the Dail this week over information he provided on the cost of the new National Children’s Hospital (Niall Carson/PA)
Simon Harris is expected to apologise to the Dail this week over information he provided on the cost of the new National Children’s Hospital (Niall Carson/PA)

The spokeswoman added that "whilst the parliamentary question was factually correct, Minister Harris will be happy to apologise for not providing such context".

It's understood that Mr Harris was informed on August 27 last that the hospital cost overrun had risen to €191m.

On September 18 he told Fianna Fail's Barry Cowen that capital expenditure on the new children's hospital was "in line with the expected expenditure profile."

The issue was again raised with the minister in a memo in October, where officials said they needed more time to review costs.

The final memo he received was on November 9 which shows the overrun costs had soared to €450m.

It was then that he informed Taoiseach Leo Varadkar about the escalating cost of the project.

The Taoiseach has expressed total confidence in the Health Minister.

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