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More questions than answers after committee hearing on children’s hospital overspend – O’Reilly

6 February, 2019 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Speaking this afternoon, Sinn Féin health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has said that the timeframes and information given by those involved in the children’s hospital overspend have raised more questions than they have answered.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“Today is the fourth time in five weeks in which the Health Committee has met to discuss the overspend on the new National Children’s Hospital.

“Each time, the Committee has met new information has come to light which raises further questions about the children’s hospital project and the overspend.

“Today, under questioning, the Secretary General of the Department of Health informed the Committee of the nature of the tenders for the hospital.

“Five tenders for phase one of the project were submitted – a tender of €637m from BAM, the next lowest tender was €768m, then €785.5m, and the highest bid was €814.9m, the final bidder did not submit a tender.

“It beggars belief that nobody raised serious reservations about the submitted bid of €637m considering it was €131 million, or 20%, lower than the next bid. A 20% lower bid in any construction project would ring alarm bells, but for a project of this magnitude it should have been a serious red flag.

“Furthermore, the timelines outlined by the Minister for Health and the Minister for Finance also raise significant questions 

“I find it hard to believe that neither those members of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) or the officials who sat at meetings regarding the cost increases would not have, in some way, relayed these issues to the relevant Ministers as the costs were escalating out of control.

“I hope that that the Minister for Health, the Minister for Finance, and officials make themselves available for further questioning because there is still much that is left to be discussed.

“I eagerly await the investigation of PwC as there are many questions to which the public need answers.” 

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