Zappone hopes spiralling cost of children's hospital means it will be 'best in world'

The Children's Minister has said if the new Children's Hospital is going to be the most expensive in the world, it should be the best.

The price tag for the site has doubled since first estimates to more than €1bn.

The new National Children's hospital has been engulfed in controversy, with objections to the St James' site and spiralling costs.

The expected bill of around €1bn will make it the most expensive children's hospital to be built anywhere in the world

The Public Accounts Committee is due to call in planners to explain the mounting costs, but it is still expected to get the go ahead.

“I would hope that if the costs are the most in the world, that we have in fact the best children’s hospital in the world,” Children's Minister Katherine Zappone reacted to the news.

“At the same time, it is really important - as we need a children’s hospital - that is done in the best manner possible.”

Planners are due to explain the spiraling costs to an Oireachtas committee.

It has also been raised in the Dáil, with Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald questioning how the Government could stand over what will be the most expensive hospital ever built in the world.

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald defended the spiralling costs, blaming rising inflation in construction costs.

She said that the facility will be more than just a hospital.

“There is also extra facilities that were not in the original plan, like the education and research centre, which will be funded from elsewhere,” she said.

“There will also be input from philanthropy and the government is committed to ensuring that the funding will be available.

“When it comes to capital costs, it is quite clear that many of our major projects have had costs over-run.”

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