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More doubts arise over Minister Harris’s story regarding children’s hospital overrun – O’Reilly

5 March, 2019 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Speaking this afternoon, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has said that more and more doubts are arising in relation to the Minister for Health Simon Harris’s story around the overrun on the National Children’s Hospital project.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“As the weeks pass by and more information comes to light from drip fed documents and FOIs in relation to the National Children’s Hospital overrun, the Minister for Health’s story becomes more and more implausible.

“I have said over the past number of weeks that it was simply not credible that Minister for Health would not discuss the catastrophic overrun with his Cabinet colleagues earlier than November 2018, given that, in May, the Joint Construction and Finance Sub-Committee noted that the capital programme for the project would have to be submitted before mid-September to ensure funding prior to Budget ‘18 and the same committee questioned whether the State could actually afford the project just days after the Minister was briefed on the developing overrun.

“I didn’t feel the Minister’s story was credible then and it is becoming even less credible as the HSE is now offering a contradictory timeline.

“In the Joint Construction and Finance Sub-Committee minutes, it outlines that it was the belief of the HSE representative that they would have to inform the budgetary process by September.

“If this was the case, the Minister for Finance and many others would have known of the overrun much earlier.

“If this did not happen, then the Minister and the HSE must explain the situation as to why this suggestion was reneged on.

“These conflicting stories between the Minister and the Department of Health and the HSE further undermine the credibility of the version of events articulated by the Minster for Health.” 

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