Sinn Féin TD and Chair of the Public Accounts Committee Brian Stanley has called on the Government to intervene and take a more hands on approach regarding the National Children’s Hospital.
Teachta Stanley’s comments come following news that there are further delays to Department of Health’s internal report of a revised budget and timeline for the construction of the new National Children’s Hospital. This report was initially to be published late last year.
Speaking this evening, the Laois-Offaly TD said:
“Last November, the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHBD) was due to come before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to provide members with an updated timeline and cost for the construction of the National Children’s Hospital.
“Unfortunately, that meeting had to be delayed until early February to facilitate the Department of Health and the NPHBD’s request that more time be given to publish their report.
“In February, the PAC was then told by David Gunning, Chief Officer of the NPHBD, at our Committee hearing that we could expect the report by the end of the month or in early March.
“It is now nearly the end of April and there is still no sign of the report or the new estimates.
“We were also told at that same hearing that the Chairman of the NPHBD had resigned and BAM, the contractor, had filed around 700 financial claims against the boards and that around 200 of these had already been settled.
“Something has clearly gone badly wrong here and we need to see some political leadership to drag this project back on track.
“As Chair of the PAC, having now engaged with this matter on numerous occasions, I am not at all confident that the board has the capacity or capability to see this project through. This needs Government intervention at a senior level.
“I understand the Department of Health is under a lot of pressure regarding the ongoing pandemic, however, this is a major infrastructure project costing over €2 billion. We need to see political leadership.”