| 8.8°C Dublin

Fury at €85k to move unused X-ray machine

A €9m x-ray machine lying idle in a north Dublin health centre will cost a staggering €85,000 simply to move elsewhere, the HSE has claimed.

Both Government and opposition TDs today reacted with fury at the news that moving the device, located in Ballymun, will cost the taxpayer yet more money.

The scandal surrounding the machine continues to roll on -- just weeks after the Herald revealed that the overall bill has now reached €9.5m.

The machine cost €9m to buy six years ago, but despite the HSE forking out a staggering €500,000 for installation, it has simply lay in a storage room gathering dust.

Challenged over the issue by Fianna Fail Health spokes- person Billy Kelleher, the HSE said the cost of moving the device would be "prohibitive".

Meanwhile, well-placed Labour sources have today revealed that the fiasco has "infuriated" junior Health Minister Roisin Shortall, who has brought the matter to the attention of the Special Delivery Unit.

A source explained: "Ballymun is in Roisin's constituency. She knows this reflects badly on her, especially as she is junior Health Minister. But it appears that the money just isn't there."


The Herald understands that the blunder has caused "serious frustration" among staff at the clinic.

"It's a particular blow to the staff of the centre -- they want to see this used. It's there waiting to go," a source said.

Patients who visit the centre are now often referred on to crowded A&E departments.

The situation has been dubbed a "fiasco" by local representatives today.

Labour TD for Dublin North West John Lyons said: "This is just another example from the litany of situations where equipment has been purchased and the funding to run the service has not been provided.

"It's ironic that equipment such as this X-ray machine was purchased when the economy was in a better position, but still there was a lack of joined-up thinking to fund the staff to use the equipment," he added.

The HSE earlier told the Herald that it would not be "prudent" to invest in the facility.

"Following wide consultation with relevant clinicians regarding the X-ray machine that was installed as part of the initial fit-out, it has been decided that, in the current economic climate and with reduced resources, it would not be prudent to invest further in the facility," it said in a statement.