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Martin 'angry' at stalling of Children's Hospital and demands builders get back on site

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Stalled: The site for the new National Children’s Hospital in Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Stalled: The site for the new National Children’s Hospital in Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Stalled: The site for the new National Children’s Hospital in Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

TAOISEACH Micheál Martin has said he's "angry" that work has stalled on the National Children's Hospital project and demanded that the builders be returned to the site.

Work on the new €1.7bn NCH has stalled indefinitely.

There's a dispute over who should pay for the extra costs of reopening the site after the coronavirus lockdown as well as the cost of new safety measures needed due to the pandemic.

The main contractors - BAM - have said they are "anxious" to get back on site but claim they have been excluded from payments that the State has been making to builders on other public sites.

The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) has told BAM it expects workers back on site without further delay.

The NPHDB wants the issue of costs to be resolved through the agreed dispute management process while work on site continues.

RTÉ is reporting today that the NPHDB is preparing to take legal action if work doesn't resume by next week.

Mr Martin expressed his anger at the situation.

He said: "I'm quite annoyed at what has transpired here,"

He asked: "Why is it the Children's Hospital site, one of the few if not only sites where work has not recommenced?

"Work has recommenced on construction sites all across the country. People have got back to building.

"It's unacceptable, in my view, what has happened here.

"I would say to people get back on site and start building the Children's Hospital.

"The children of this country need it.

"A lot of investment has already gone into it, a lot of effort."

Mr Martin added: "I'm angry about this and I think they should get back on the site.

"'m not interested in excuses. I'm not interested in what people are saying and blaming..

"If they've the interests of the children of Ireland at heart they should get back on the site and start building."

Asked what the government will do about the dispute Mr Martin replied: "I'm fed up of claim and counterclaim. I'm saying to them get back on the site."

He was asked if the Government would consider re-tendering if the dispute isn't resolved.

Mr Martin said: "These are matters that the health authorities in terms of the board itself that's responsible for the hospital will be advising the Department on. "

He said the Government are "actively over this" and added:: "But the plea is very unequivocal, very simple. Sites all over Ireland have reopened.

"We've had enough really with what's gone on at the Children's Hospital site. The children of Ireland deserve better than this and I'm very clear that they should get back on site."

Asked again if the State will continue with BAM Mr Martin said: "I'm not getting into those sorts of contractual issues here now."

Online Editors