Government accused of 'staggering' arrogance over site for National Children's Hospital

A retired doctor and campaigner for a change in site for the National Children's Hospital's accused the government of 'staggering' arrogance.

Finn Breathnach worked as a children's cancer specialist and is now a member of the 'Connolly for Kids' campaign.

It emerged in recent days that the price tag for the project, which is slated for the grounds of St James's in Dublin, could reach over a billion euro.

Artists impression.

Finn Breathnach today pointed to a new hospital being built in Finland, similar in size to the new facility here.

"Stated construction cost is €300m.

"We have 20 County Councils around the country saying it's the wrong site, we've the Jack and Jill organisation saying it's the wrong site, we've Jane McKenna who set up the LauraLynn Hospice said it's the wrong site.

"The arrogance of the government is quite staggering and the silence of the opposition is startling," said Breathnach.

A cabinet minister says it's not time to start thinking about new sites for the National Children's Hospital, despite reports the final cost could reach over a billion euro.

Richard Bruton this morning defended those behind the project, saying they're approaching it from the point of view of best value for taxpayers' money.

The cabinet will decide in the coming weeks whether to finally go ahead with the project on the grounds of St James's Hospital in Dublin.

Minister Bruton says it's been a long road to get this far.

"Now lets examine the cost and how they've been made up, if there's economies to be achieved we will achieve them.

"Lets not pretend that we should go back to the drawing board and start thinking about new sites when this has taken well over ten years to get to the point where we are in a position to go to tender and actually build this unit, not talk about it."

The Taoiseach has defended the price tag and says it will be 'closely monitored'.

"The group will appoint a really dedicated, experienced team to monitor what would be a fixed contract of almost €1,000m. They will sit on that contract to see that it doesn't get out of line."

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