Friday 24 January 2020

Staff involved in building Children's Hospital share salary top-ups totalling €50,000

The new children’s hospital is due to open in 2021
The new children’s hospital is due to open in 2021
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Two specialist staff involved in building the new €1.07bn National Children's Hospital were given a total salary top-up of nearly €50,000, it was confirmed yesterday.

But despite the huge public investment in the long-awaited hospital, the salaries of both employees must remain secret because they are "commercially sensitive", it was claimed.

The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board, which is overseeing the project, was granted the additional salary payments after it made a case to the Departments of Health and Public Expenditure on the grounds the two employees would only be recruited if market pay rates were paid.

A spokeswoman for the board yesterday declined to say how much each of these specialist staff were paid or divulge the work they were performing.

The information was "commercially sensitive", said the spokeswoman.

The board's annual accounts reveal the pay bill for staff rose from €1.11m in 2015 to €1.13m in 2016. Secondee salaries went up from €763,161 to €889,788.

Board members were paid €58,140 in total.

Work only began on the construction of the hospital in recent months, but at the end of the year €65m was spent since it was decided to locate it on the site of St James's Hospital.

The hospital is due to open in 2021.

A challenge by local residents from O'Reilly Avenue, Ceannt Fort and Mount Brown, claiming works on the site have damaged their homes, was resolved last month.

The board spokeswoman said the motion before the High Court was resolved on terms which addressed the residents' concerns and work was continuing on the site of the new children's hospital.

"The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board is committed to being a good neighbour in the local community," she said.

It emerged earlier this year that Tom Costello, the chairman of the board, was given a fee top-up totalling €56,000 over two years.

Mr Costello was paid an extra €28,140 annually in 2014 and 2015, bringing his board fee to €40,100 a year.

The exceptional payment was sanctioned by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. It was justified on the grounds he was committing several days a week to the role.

Irish Independent

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