Officials called to answer questions over €450m children's hospital overspend

By Elaine Loughlin
Political Correspondent

The National Children’s Hospital board and top Department of Health officials are to be called to answer further questions on a €450m overspend at the Public Accounts Committee.

The officials join a growing list of people PAC now want to question on the spending controversy at the hospital.

Members of the committee including Labour’s Alan Kelly said the situation had changed significantly since the PAC first probed officials on the overrun given the volume of information that has been released since.

Robert Watt the Secretary General Department of Public Expenditure and Reform will also be grilled on the hospital and more oversight of all capital projects on March 7.

However, the suggestion that this be done at a special joint hearing of a number of committees has been dismissed.

While Mr Watt will come before PAC he has not accepted invitations from three other committees.

Over the weekend PAC chair Sean Fleming suggested that he would facilitate an amalgamated super meeting with members of the other committees joining in for Mr Watt’s appearance.

But this morning he ruled this out stating he would not be pursuing this option.

Sinn Féin’s David Cullinane said the chairman’s initial offer had been a “mistake” and suggested there is a “bit of jockeying for position” on the part of other committees.

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