National children’s hospital timeline: The major events in a long-running construction saga

Key events so far in the long-running saga that has become the construction of our hospital

The Opposition has argued that it could be early 2026 before the first patients are treated at the new national children's hospital. Photograph: The Irish Times

2015: After failing to get planning permission for a new National Children’s Hospital on the site of the Mater hospital in Dublin, a new application is lodged for the St James’s Hospital campus with an estimated price of €650 million and completion date of 2020

2016: Building company BAM is awarded the contract to deliver the hospital with a substantial completion date of August 2022. Additional time is later agreed to extend the deadline to November 2022.

2017: Concerns begin to emerge about the costs of the project. A construction budget of €983 million is approved, but this budget is quickly surpassed. The Irish Times reveals the cost of construction will reach €1.43 billion with overall costs heading to €1.73 billion.

2019: Two Oireachtas committees conduct investigations into the overspend and consultancy firm PwC is commissioned to review the issue. Its review makes for “grim reading”, Leo Varadkar says at the time, but retendering is not an option


2020: The project is caught up in Covid-19 lockdowns. Over the following two years, BAM submits several revised programmes, with changing dates for substantial completion

2023: Substantial completion is planned for the end of March 2024, before this is revised to May 2024. BAM’s latest indication is that it will hand the building over for commissioning at the end of October 2024, but it will be “at least six months” before Children’s Health Ireland can receive patients, meaning it will be into 2025 before it is operational.

The Opposition has argued that given the track record and the chance of a longer timeframe for commissioning, it could be early 2026 before the first patients are treated.

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times