04 February 2017

Labour spokesperson on health Alan Kelly TD had called on the Minister Simon Harris to urgently explain today how the costs for the children’s hospital have spiralled out of control by over 50% when inflation has been practically zero.

Deputy Kelly said:

“Minister Harris needs to explain how in the space of 2 years the projected costs of the Children’s Hospital have increased by almost €350 million to a billion euro.

“This will have serious impact on other capital projects including the National Maternity Hospital, new Emergency Departments and increasing bed capacity across the country.

“It also comes at a time when the National Maternity Strategy is totally without funding.

“Answers are needed on when the Minister knew about the increased costs and what planning has been done to address it.

“It’s incredible that the Department and the HSE are accepting cost increases of over 50% when inflation is practically zero.

“The Minister can no longer get away with telling us he is sorry and feels bad about this.

“He needs to provide answers to the following questions today:

  • Will he be seeking any of the extra €2.6 billion in capital funding that will be made available?
  • Are smaller capital projects like primary care centres being delayed and sacrificed to cover this cost overrun?”
  • Has the construction of a new national maternity hospital been delayed and if so by how long?
  • “How did the HSE and the Department of Health get their costing so wrong?
  • Has provision also been made for the expected €200 million cost of IT and equipment?
  • Are there other surprises in the HSE current and capital budget we don’t know of?

“Parents need answers and we urgently need clarity on what projects will be delayed or postponed to cover the cost overrun.

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