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Minister Harris must show stronger push for overspend accountability - Louise O’Reilly TD

2 February, 2019 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Reacting to the news that chair of the board of the National Children’s Hospital has resigned amid the ongoing overspend controversy, Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly said;

“It’s very telling that the chairperson has resigned, it’s only ten days since the assistant secretary general in the department of health expressed full confidence in the board.

“It seems Mr. Costello is more concerned about the reputational damage to the project. I would say that the reputational damage has already been done. This catastrophic overrun has damaged this project already.

“Hopefully now we will see some accountability. This is about the Minister for Health taking responsibility for his role in this debacle.

“This project has overrun and we are now looking at a potential cost in excess of €2Bn. In 2015 the estimated cost was €630m, we need to know how we got to the stage now where the projected cost is 3 times the original estimate. 

“We need to know who was asleep at the wheel, and we need to know what the hell the Minister for Health was doing while the costs were escalating out of control.

“Let us be under no illusions, the children of Ireland need and deserve this hospital to be built, but we do need to look at potential for cost recovery.

“Minister Harris has commissioned a report costing almost half a million Euros, if we’re going to get value for money out of that report there has to be some accountability in it.

“The terms of reference have to be re-written to allow the report to find individuals culpable but we also have to see how the cost recovery can be stacked into it even at this late stage.”

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