The Government has been accused of deliberately hiding the true scale of the €99m capital projects budget cutbacks caused by the children's hospital crisis after failing to detail the exact areas now on the chopping block.
Opposition parties lashed out after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and Health Minister Simon Harris stopped short of providing any clear, grassroots information on which projects will be targeted.
In a bid to bring the runaway children's hospital costs under control, on Tuesday cabinet signed off on €99m worth of cuts to its capital projects budget for this year.
The cuts, which the Government has been at pains to describe as "re-profiling" and "deferring" projects which were planned for this year, have been forced on departments as a direct result of the hospital crisis, and include:
However, despite the need to ensure the public is fully informed of the scale of the changes, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and Health Minister Simon Harris failed to outline the exact details involved.
Announcing the plans in the Dáil, Mr Varadkar claimed the €27m Derry to Dublin motorway delay is the fault of the Stormont stalemate in Northern Ireland, and said the €10m national forensic science lab payment "can be deferred".
However, despite an expectation Mr Donohoe would reveal the full cuts details, he failed to do so at a later Government Buildings press briefing.
After denying when asked that he is trying to sell the public "a pig in a poke" over the failure to fully reveal the cuts, Mr Donohoe later said in response to criticism he is being vague for political reasons that he is giving as much information as he can "at this time".
In a statement last night a spokesperson said €24m "re-profiling" will be "restricted to delivering some smaller capital works such as repairs and replacements".
The spokesperson said the €24m was not yet allocated and was provided on a rolling basis where needed.
The spokesperson said "we are not talking about delaying or deferring any hospital project, any primary care centre and we are not talking about any community nursing unit", but failed to give any furtherl information on what the cuts involve.
Opposition parties lashed out at the response last night, accusing Government of trying to pull the wool over the public's eyes. They included Labour health spokesperson Alan Kelly, who warned the Government is trying to drip-feed information.
“I’ll be pressing for both Minister Harris and Minister Donohoe to provide a list of what capital projects are being put on the back burner," he warned.