No one asked to resign over rising cost of children’s hospital, Oireachtas committee told

No one asked to resign over rising cost of children’s hospital, Oireachtas committee told
Stephen Donnelly. Photo: Gareth Chaney/ Collins

No one has been asked to resign over the escalating cost of the new children’s hospital, a Department of Health official told an Oireachtas committee.

Assistant secretary of the department, Tracey Conroy, also told a meeting of the Oireachtas Health Committee that no one had been sanctioned about the spiralling €1.7bn bill.

Fianna Fail’s Health spokesman, Stephen Donnelly, said the most expensive hospital in the world was the Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia.

And the most expensive hospital building project was the new Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden - the current cost stands at almost €2.1bn.

“But they are getting three times more hospital beds,” said Mr Donnelly.

He asked Ms Conroy if she thought that the price Irish people were paying for beds, compared to two of the most expensive hospitals ever built, represented a “catastrophic failure of management.”

Ms Conroy said a study showed that the cost per square metre for the new children's hospital was at a higher end but in line with similar projects.

She also referred to a HSE study with specialist internal input that found Dublin ranked second worldwide with regard to tender cost inflation.

Pressed by Mr Donnelly, Ms Conroy said she did not accept that the cost comparison with other expensive hospitals represented a catastrophic failure of management.

Deputy director of the HSE, Dean Sullivan, who also appeared before the committee, also rejected the charge made by Mr Donnelly.

Fianna Fáil’s Margaret Murphy O’Mahony compared the hospital costs to the popular television series Room to Improve where architect Dermot Bannon comes up with great ideas about house extensions and improvements.

“But he has a very able quantity surveyor with him who pulls him back from doing anything that was not originally agreed to,” she said.

Surely in a big plan like this there is someone in that role who should have said stop - this isn’t what was agreed to and to just to pull it in a bit.

Ms Murphy O’Mahony said a number of different capital projects were underway and she especially welcomed the development of a radiation oncology unit at Cork University Hospital.

Assistant secretary of the Department of Health, Colm Desmond, said the unit at CUH would be equipped, commissioned and become operational by the end of the year.

“That is the timeframe that is given at this point in time,” he said.

Meanwhile, Labour leader, Brendan Howlin, has called for an urgent Dáil inquiry into the escalating costs was needed.

He believed most people "genuinely aghast" that the project was now expected to cost over three times the original budget of €400m

The project needs to be completed, but with very clear, transparent costings, he said on RTÉ radio.

More on this topic

Official quits as National Children’s Hospital costs spiralOfficial quits as National Children’s Hospital costs spiral

Children's Hospital board ‘satisfied’ at its roleChildren's Hospital board ‘satisfied’ at its role

HSE spent €1m on children's hospital PRHSE spent €1m on children's hospital PR

BAM seeks €12m extra costs for hospital workBAM seeks €12m extra costs for hospital work

More in this Section

Tusla whistleblower distressed after his complaintTusla whistleblower distressed after his complaint

'More deaths' unless Cold Weather Initiative for homeless activated, charity warns'More deaths' unless Cold Weather Initiative for homeless activated, charity warns

Motorcyclist, 30s, killed after collision with parked car in Co TipperaryMotorcyclist, 30s, killed after collision with parked car in Co Tipperary

HSE has spent almost €7m on private ambulances in eight monthsHSE has spent almost €7m on private ambulances in eight months


Pollutants can have an impact on your health, but there are things you can do to reduce the potential damage.High pollution days ‘lead to more cardiac arrests and strokes’: 5 easy ways to protect yourself

Even if you only have room for one pot in the smallest space, plant some tulips in it to make your garden spring to life, says Hannah Stephenson.7 design tips to make your tulips in garden pots stand out in a crowd

Does the early bird catch the gym gains, or are you better off running through your reps after the sun sets? We ask two personal trainers.Ask the experts: Is it better to work out in the morning or the evening?

John’s chairs will last a lifetime, but he is also passing on his knowledge to a new generation, writes Ellie O’Byrne.Made in Munster: The ancient art of súgán-making is woven into Irish family history

More From The Irish Examiner