No patients at Cashel hospital despite €7.5m over-spend

Public Accounts Committee to examine situation at Our Lady’s Hospital

Our Lady’s Hospital in Cashel, Co Tipperary, could not accommodate a single patient during a recent visit by Minister for Health Simon Harris, despite a €7.5 million over-spend on its refurbishment, the Public Accounts Committee has heard.

Labour TD Alan Kelly told parliamentarians of the “absolutely incredible story” that emerged during a visit to the hospital by himself and Mr Harris.

“[This] goes back the guts of 20 years in relation to agreements that there would be a new role for this hospital,” he said. “I visited this hospital with the Minister for Health, and there wasn’t one single patient in the building.

“So it’s not just a case of where did the €7.5 million go. It’s a case of what is it being used for, or what will it potentially be used for, while South Tipperary General Hospital, which we all know, is one of the biggest overcrowding situations in Ireland.”


Mr Kelly called on the committee to summon officials from the Health Service Executive to explain the overspend. “I’d be very surprised if we’re not bringing them in here to explain not just the capital differential but also in relation to value for money in relation to what it’s been used for,” he said.

Mattie McGrath, an Independent local TD, said two new reconstructions, at a total cost of €10.15 million and €12.6 million, have been spent on the hospital since 2009.

“I wrote to PAC on December 12th of last year and demanded that there be an immediate investigation in to the travesty of having a facility like Cashel left idle, in terms of patient beds and step down beds,” he said.

“The fact that the refurbishment project is already almost €7 million over the initial capital budget was a cause of profound concern to me and I wished to have the matter examined.”

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter