Taoiseach misleading Dáil on Health capital projects

19 February 2019

Labour Party Leader Brendan Howlin has accused the Taoiseach of misleading the Dáil on the impact of reallocating €100m of capital spending in 2019, for the National Children’s Hospital, and he said that €35m would fund a lot of work in the health sector that now won’t go ahead this year.

Deputy Howlin said:

“A sum of €35 million that was allocated for specific health projects this year will now be used to plug the gap on the National Children’s Hospital.

“The Taoiseach said today that the Opposition was lying to people about the impact of this on health projects. Maybe the Taoiseach doesn’t understand his own budget as an additional €100m in costs for the National Children’s Hospital will mean that €100m of other works won’t go ahead.

“The Government hasn’t been able to tell us exactly what won’t be funded in Health this year. You don’t just find €35m down the back of a couch in the Department of Health. Of course, the balance of €65m has to be found also from cuts in other Government Departments.

“The health spending had already been profiled and allocated to projects across hospitals, primary care centres and nursing homes. It would have gone to fund essential diagnostic equipment like CT scanners, MRIs or X-ray machines.

“It’s not like this money will magically reappear next year. It will have been spent on the new hospital. A total of €450m will have to be found over a number of years and a significant chunk of that will come from health projects.

“If these projects are being delayed now, it means if they go ahead next year others will then be delayed. They can’t spend the money twice.

“The Taoiseach instead of throwing accusations at the Opposition should come clean and tell us what health projects won’t be taking place.”

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