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Hospital bill €41m before one brick laid

THE new national children's hospital in Dublin has already cost €41m – even before construction work has begun.

St James's Hospital was selected as the alternative site for the building after the original Mater Hospital site was rejected.

An estimated €26m of the money spent on the project when it was planned for the Mater has been written-off.

Health Minister James Reilly confirmed the cost has now risen to €41m and that building work, which is still contingent on planning permission, will not start until next year.

The new facility, which will see the merging of the three existing children's hospitals in Crumlin, Temple Street and Tallaght, will not be completed until the end of 2018.

Dr Reilly said that up to €200m would be made available for the new hospital from the sale of the National Lottery, adding to the existing €450m exchequer funding.

However, he conceded that philanthropic, non-exchequer funding will be sought "to the maximum and most appropriate degree".

Dr Reilly said estimated costs will be reviewed and refined at each stage as the project progresses.

He said the board overseeing the project reviewed the design team procurement process, which had been initiated in July, and decided on a change of approach.

Eilish Hardiman was announced as the new chief executive of the children's hospital group.



While this means the design team will be selected this spring, the board "is confident there will be no delay to the project overall", Dr Reilly said.

"Pre-application planning discussions have begun, a master plan for the St James's Hospital campus is being prepared and it is working closely with the development board and the HSE in relation to the decant phase of the project," he said.

"Work on the review of urgent care centre configuration is at an advanced stage."