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Children’s hospital board minutes reveal more layers to overrun - Louise O'Reilly TD

12 February, 2019 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Speaking this afternoon following the release of further documentation relating to the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board, Sinn Féin health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly has said that the release of the board’s minutes and other documentation reveals more layers to the children’s hospital overrun.

Teachta O’Reilly said;

“The release of further minutes and documentation to the Health and Public Accounts Committee in relation to the National Children’s Hospital overrun today raises many more questions and shine a light on absolute incompetence at all levels of this project. 

“The minutes detailed the existence of sub-committees within sub-committees, of working groups within sub-committees, and of another smaller board existing and operating within the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board, of which there appears to be no minutes for its meetings.

“The documents also detail the scale of mismanagement at the heart of the National Children’s Hospital project and the dearth of engagement or oversight by the Minister for Health despite being informed of rapidly escalating costs.

“We now know that the scale and trajectory of the overrun was known to the Development Board and its subcommittees from early summer with the size of the overrun rose from €95 million in June 2018 to €191 million that August.

“What is more is that we know that the Minister reappointed the members of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board in July. It also appears that the Minister reappointed them without a review into their performance or any detailed engagement with the project.

“All the while the project continued escalate out of control and by August the overspend had risen to €191 million and the reappointed board was aware of these escalating costs.

“Furthermore, we know that the Minister was informed of this on 27 August yet he took the decision not to tell the Minister for Finance and not to tell one single cabinet colleague. However, we do know that he did decide to mislead the Dáil and he did decide to mislead Fianna Fáil during budget negotiations.

“It also appears from the documents that the main contractor ran rings around the Development Board and the taxpayer without any discernible consequence.

“What is clear to anyone following this scandal is that the Minister for Health is out of his depth and he allowed the biggest capital project in the history of the Department of Health to escalate upwards and out of control without any intervention, any questions, or any communication with the Minister for Finance.

“The whole project seems to have been an exercise in absolute incompetence at all levels."

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