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Minister for Health must remove Children’s Hospital Development Board members to strengthen it – Jonathan O’Brien TD

18 April, 2019 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Sinn Féin’s deputy spokesperson for Public Expenditure & Reform, Jonathan O’Brien TD, has called on the Minister for Health Simon Harris to change the Development Board of the National Children’s Hospital.

Deputy O'Brien also said that Minister Harris must ensure quarterly progress reports are audited by DPER to ensure the project does not suffer further cost escalations.

Speaking this afternoon, the Cork North-Central TD said:

“The recent PwC report, at a cost of €4,500 per page, revealed little new information beyond confirming what was already known - poor oversight by the Development Board and other governance structures, a flawed procurement strategy and a total disengagement from Government.

“The report was highly critical of the Development Board which has been responsible for overseeing the project for several years, and includes the Chief Procurement Officer in this State.

"It recommended strengthening the Board to ensure the same mistakes are not repeated.

“Last week at the Health Committee I questioned the ability of the Minister for Health to strengthen the Board without removing current members.

"While the Minister had said he could strengthen the Board without removing members, he last night accepted that current legislation prohibits him from doing so.

“The Minister can only strengthen the Board by removing current members.

“I therefore call on the Minister to announce which members he will be removing from the Board to ensure it has the adequate expertise to ensure it is completed on time and without any further cost escalation.

“Further to this, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform confirmed that his department has failed to audit any of the quarterly progress reports of the National Children’s Hospital, despite being recommended to do so by the IMF nearly two years ago.

“His Department must ensure that this project is audited from now until completion, and reform its procurement policies to ensure this fiasco is never repeated.”

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