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Minister Harris “neither competent nor capable” to manage hospital overspend fiasco - Louise O’Reilly TD

16 February, 2019 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly has said that the Minister for Health Simon Harris is neither competent or capable in managing the size of the National Children’s Hospital, and that the Taoiseach must remove him from his position.

Speaking today, Deputy O’Reilly said;

“We learned absolutely nothing new from hearing the Minister on the radio today. He is out of his depth and clearly incapable of managing a project the size of the National Children’s Hospital.

“We didn’t hear any rational explanation from him as to why he knew about a massive overrun on a capital project and deliberately kept that information from the Minister for Finance during the budgetary process.

“Fianna Fáil should stop protecting Fine Gael and do the right thing in supporting our motion of no confidence in the Minister next week. 

“He has said nothing that would change our opinion of this Minister. He is not able to manage a project of this size, he is out of his depth and Minister Harris needs to go.

“The Taoiseach made remarks in the Dáil this week about the tendering process, and now BAM have issued a statement in response saying they are willing to pull out. The Taoiseach should clarify his remarks and put into the public domain what exactly it was that he was talking about.

“There is no way that Harris and or the Board of the paediatric hospital could have properly considered the offer within 24 hours. This is a Minister and a Government that is in panic mode scrambling for cover.

“We will pay dearly for this. At least €100m is going to be cut from capital projects every year for the next four years. We all want to see the Children’s Hospital built, we absolutely do, but we want value for money.

“We need a new Minister for Health to properly consider this and all other options to ensure timely delivery of the hospital while reducing the cost overrun.

“If there is a possibility of cost recovery well then I believe the Taoiseach should step in at this stage. As we have said, we believe that the Taoiseach and a new Minister for Health need to step in and start managing this project.”

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