Review of cost overrun at children’s hospital to cost more than half a million

HSE reply to TD indicates initial price of €450,000 did not include VAT

Work is continuing on the National Children’s Hospital. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Work is continuing on the National Children’s Hospital. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

The price of the review by PwC into spiralling costs at the planned new national children’s hospital has itself jumped by up to €150,000 more than its original estimate.

Sinn Féin’s Jonathan O’Brien said the “set in stone” €450,000 cost of the review “is not factually correct”.

It will now be nearly €600,000, he said.

“There is a cost overrun into the report on cost overruns. How ridiculous are we getting?” he added.

“The Government is just not being honest with the figures you’re giving.”

Mr O’Brien said he asked a parliamentary question about the review by business consultants PwC. He said the Government put the price at €450,000 and this was “set in stone”.

But he said he received a reply from the HSE that the review would cost €450,000 plus 23 per cent Vat “which is another €103,000” and there were expenses on top of that.

He added that the HSE could not quantify the amount of expenses involved but he estimated the total bill could be close to €600,000.

The Cork North-Central TD was speaking during a private member’s debate in the Dáil on Tuesday on the planned new national children’s hospital.

The motion was introduced by the group of rural Independents who called on the Government to immediately suspend construction of the hospital at the St James’s hospital site in Dublin pending the outcome of a time-limited independent investigation to assess its viability, cost and the efficacy of re-tendering the project to a greenfield site co-located with a maternity hospital.

The rural TDs also called for any site preparation work already undertaken to be developed as a satellite children’s urgent care centre or other appropriate service.

Mr O’Brien echoed comments by Fianna Fáil chairman of the Public Accounts Committee Sean Fleming who said the hospital would by the time it was completed cost closer to €2.7 billion than the €1.7 billion the Government was now saying it would cost. It was estimated to cost €800 million in 2014.

Mr Fleming said the Government was operating on the basis that the current €1.7 billion estimate was final and that there would be no further construction inflation. If the Government believed that it was the only group to do so.

Minister for Health Simon Harris was represented in the debate by Minister of State Jim Daly who introduced a Government counter motion.

Rejecting the rural TDs’ motion Mr Daly confirmed the Government’s intention to complete construction of the hospital at the St James’s campus with satellite centres at Connolly hospital in Blanchardstown and Tallaght hospital.

Rural TDs accused the Government of a lack of respect for their point of view by Mr Harris non-attendance for the debate.