Una Mullally: Children’s hospital is latest offering in the theatre of failure

Neither frugalness nor accuracy are intrinsic to the Irish disposition

January 14th, 2019: The Oireachtas committee on health will this week begin hearings into the financial over-run at the planned new National Children’s Hospital which is now expected to cost more than €1.7 billion more than twice the original estimate of €650 million.

When the Republican senator Howard Baker Jr asked “what did the president know, and when did he know it?” during the Watergate scandal, he pithily encapsulated the ultimate question when it comes to an emerging political scandal. Often it’s not the actual wrongdoing that brings politicians down, it’s about the knowledge timeline: who knew what and when.

The children’s hospital debacle is currently playing out on the Irish political stage, a rerun of the type of theatre of failure Irish people have a season ticket to, something so familiar that often we don’t even bother to take our seats. This again. Find me at the interval drinking gin.

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