TD compares National Children's Hospital costs to spending of Room to Improve's Dermot Bannon

TD compares National Children's Hospital costs to spending of Room to Improve's Dermot Bannon

The spiralling cost of the new National Children’s Hospital has been compared to architect Dermot Bannon's overspending on Room to Improve.

The Health Committee is questioning officials from the Department of Health and the HSE.

Officials have said several times today that lessons have been learned from this scenario.

The spiralling cost has been compared to architect Dermot Bannon's overspending on Room to Improve.

Room to Improve's Dermot Bannon.
Room to Improve's Dermot Bannon.

TD Margaret Murphy asked who is overseeing the plans and costs:

Ms Murphy said: "Many of us watch the programme Room to Improve where Dermot Bannon comes up with these great ideas about doing up houses, but he has a very able quantity surveyor who pulls him back from anything that wasn't originally agreed to,

"Surely, in a big plan like this, there's someone in that role who could have said 'stop. This isn't what was agreed to' and just to pull it in a bit."

Meanwhile, Labour leader Brendan Howlin is calling for an urgent Dáil inquiry into the escalating cost of the new hospital.

A bespoke committee with the power to compel and question witnesses needs to be formed, he told RTE’s News at One.

Most people in the country are “genuinely aghast,” he said, that the project is now expected to cost more than three times the original budget of €400m.

Mr Howlin queried how the Department of Health could say that it had approved budgets along every phase and yet the end figure had caused “dismay.”

There had been a complete failure of oversight to have allowed the cost of the project to escalate, he said.

The former Minister for Public Expenditure warned that €1.4bn “will not be the height of the cost.”

The accountability officer for the project was the secretary general of the Department of Health “he has to be accountable for that.”

Mr Howlin said that the project cannot be abandoned at this stage and that there was no appetite or willingness to start again.

The project needs to be completed, but with very clear, transparent costings. “Every cent needs to be accounted for.”

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