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PAC hears National Children’s Hospital Cost could reach €2 billion without any Accountability – O’Brien

1 February, 2019 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Sinn Féin's deputy spokesperson for Public Expenditure & Reform Jonathan O’Brien TD has called on DPER officials to come before the Public Accounts Committee.

This comes after yesterday’s Public Accounts Committee during which new details of the National Children’s Hospital cost overrun came to light.

Speaking today, the TD for Cork North-Central, Deputy O’Brien said:

“Yesterday’s meeting of the Public Accounts Committee brought further light to the mismanagement of the National Children’s Hospital and the resulting cost overruns.

“We now know that between June and November of 2018, in a period of 5 months, costs rose by up to €450 million; that’s €100 million a month. As yet we don’t know exactly how those costs rose. Many questions remain.

“Officials before the Public Accounts Committee made clear that the Department of Health assumed overall responsibility for this scandalous mismanagement of taxpayers’ money, but attention must now turn to the knowledge and involvement of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

“A senior official, indeed the chief procurement officer of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, was both on the development board of the hospital and the finance and procurement subcommittees, with intimate knowledge of the overruns as and when they happened.

“It is in the public interest to now know the extent to which DPER officials and the Minister of that Department knew of the overruns, and why robust procurement and financial controls were not in place.

“I have asked that officials from the Office for Government Procurement, and the Secretary General of DPER come before the committee for this purpose.

“The cost overrun, which is set to rise, will stall numerous capital projects in health and other sectors across the State. We now know that the report investigating the overrun will fall short of determining responsibility at an individual. This is wholly unacceptable.

“Answers must be given and responsibility determined.” 

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