The chair of the Public Accounts Committee Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley has said that he hopes that the Taoiseach has “at least a ballpark figure” for the final cost of the National Children’s Hospital because Department of Health officials had not been able to supply them.
Mr Stanley was speaking on RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland following an admission by the HSE that fluctuation in spending on the new National Paediatric Hospital at the St James's Hospital campus in Dublin, will have a significant impact on the remainder of its Capital Programme for this year.
The PAC had been “hamstrung in its work” because it had been given “miniscule information”, and it had been “denied the type of information” it needed to conduct proper scrutiny on the children's hospital project, he said.
The finished price for the hospital was still not known, added Mr Stanley. “It's gone well over budget. We do know that by the end of this year, there will be another €250million or so spent on it. And I predict that by this month next year, around Easter next year, it will overshoot the target of €2billion on this project.
Mr Stanley said the PAC had been “trying to drill into this as far as we can, but apparently only the Secretary General of the Department of Health, Robert Watt, he assures me that he knows the price. He assured me of that in the Public Accounts committee.”
The hospital was “a vanity project” with the type of contract that the Government had entered into “wearing a blindfold.”
Mr Stanley said that he hoped the Taoiseach had “at least a ballpark figure” as the Department officials have not been able to give him or the PAC the figure.