Harney and Lynch differ over issue of resignation


THE FORMER chairman of the development board for the new National Paediatric Hospital said yesterday he resigned last week as a result of “fundamental differences” with the Minister for Health Mary Harney on a number of key issues. However, Ms Harney said last night that she had requested his resignation.

In a statement Mr Lynch said that among the substantive range of issues on which he and the Minister disagreed were a substantial gap in the level of funding available for the project, and planning and design challenges at the Mater site. He said that other issues included “clarity or absence of governance proposals for the new hospital”.

“It is my opinion that if the above issues are not addressed, the successful delivery of the new hospital, wherever it is located, is at serious risk.”

Mr Lynch also said the Minister had raised the matter of a meeting he had held with some members of the Children’s Medical & Research Foundation which funds the National Children’s Research Centre at Our Lady’s hospital in Crumlin. “I felt it was important these members of the foundation be given an opportunity to articulate their concerns as the goodwill and support of the foundation is important to the National Paediatric Hospital Development board (NPHDB).”

Mr Lynch said he had informed the Minister that on the basis of the significant and fundamental differences that existed, “the appropriate course of action for me was to resign my position as chairman”.

“My decision to resign was my own. In my letter of resignation, I stated that there were fundamental differences between the Minister and myself on the need for open and informed discussion at board level at all times on a range of substantive issues relating to the NPHDB.”

He said among the issues outlined were:

* The substantial funding gap

* The development of the Adelaide Meath National Children’s Hospital at Tallaght

* Clarity or absence of governance proposals for the new hospital

* Effectiveness of stakeholder communications

* Planning and design challenges for the Mater site

However, in a statement last night, Ms Harney said: “In requesting the resignation of Mr Philip Lynch as chairman, I made it clear that it is not in the remit of the development board to revisit the Government decision taken on the location of the new hospital”.

The development of the hospital at the Mater campus remains a priority for the Government and it is important now that we all focus on making it happen rather than attempting to revisit the decisions of the past.