A STAGGERING €40m in taxpayers' money was wasted on the scrapped plans to build the National Children's Hospital (NCH) at the Mater Hospital Campus on Dublin's northside.
The project was dropped after it was refused planning permission and a site at St James's Hospital south of the Liffey has been selected instead.
The sum spent on the doomed Mater project emerged in a report by Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy into the development board set up to oversee the long-delayed project.
Mr McCarthy examined the 2012 account and said that "arising from the Government decision to change the location of the hospital", it is likely that these €40m assets "are now impaired".
A spokesman for the board was unable to say yesterday if any of the work paid for in preparation for the Mater site was carried over since the decision in Novermber 2012 was made to build it elsewhere.
The €40m only relates to work associated with construction and does not include the extras spent on payroll or other costs.
An application for planning permission to build the National Children's Hospital at St James's will not be ready until next year and major question marks still remain over promises to have it built by 2018.
Announcing the change of location former Health Minister James Reilly claimed that around €28m of the public money already pumped into the project could be salvaged - but this is now unlikely to materialise.
He said the planning risk for the Mater was too high and it had to be abandoned.