January 5, 2024
Government dismantling oversight of large capital projects is ‘reckless in the extreme’ – Rose Conway-Walsh TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Public Expenditure has criticised the government for removing all centralised checks of large capital projects.

Teachta Conway-Walsh said:

“The recently published ‘infrastructure guidelines’ are the final nail in the coffin of the short-lived reforms to how we oversee large capital projects.

“The new guidelines are light-touch guidelines and push all responsibility back onto the individual departments.

“The debacle of the National Children’s Hospital has led to some positive reforms. The Department of Public Expenditure was given a role in overseeing large capital projects to make sure the disastrous mistakes of the past were not repeated. 

“These reforms came too late to stop many of the runaway costs of the Children’s Hospital, but the public were led to believe that at least lessons had been learned.

“The Department of Public Expenditure was required to undertake technical reviews of any major capital project at three stages.

“Now these reviews have been replaced by a watered-down process led by private consultants. This will mean that the department will no longer be providing any technical reviews of major capital projects.

“The Department of Public Expenditure will no longer have any oversight role even on the largest capital projects.

“Essentially reforms that were brought in because of the disaster that is the National Children’s Hospital have already been dismantled before the construction of the hospital has even been completed.

“We need to change course and reinstate the oversight role for the Department of Public Expenditure. The National Investment Office in the departments needs to be transformed into a real hub of expertise when it comes to large scale capital projects. This is the only way to ensure capital projects are delivered on time and on budget.”

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