Expert in contentious construction disputes put on national children’s hospital board

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has announced a number of appointments and reappointments to the board

An expert in contentious construction disputes has been appointed to the board overseeing the building of the new national children’s hospital as part of a series of fresh appointments made by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly.

The project has been beset by delay and controversy and more recently a breakdown in the relationship between the main contractor BAM and the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB), which oversees the project.

Mr Donnelly has announced a number of appointments and reappointments to the board, including the hiring of Susan Bryson, described by the Government as being an “experienced construction and litigation solicitor who has practised in the area of contentious construction law and litigation and dispute resolution”.

She was appointed following a Public Appointments Service process and will serve from the end of this month until July 30th, 2028.


It comes after the board itself hired one of the world’s leading investigative and intelligence companies, Kroll, to review the works on the site. Minutes of board meetings showed that Kroll were shut out of the site for six weeks at a time when relationships were deteriorating between the NPHDB and BAM.

To date expenditure on the hospital has reached €1.325 billion of an authorised capital spend stretching to €1.433 billion. BAM has submitted approximately €750 million in cost claims which threaten to escalate the overall cost to almost €2.2 billion, The Irish Times previously reported. The builders are understood to be privately arguing that very large numbers of design changes have been made, creating delays outside of their control. The board, however, are strongly resisting all claims.

Mr Donnelly has also appointed Alan Moore, a former director of strategic capital development with Western Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland. The department said he was responsible for a £1 billion capital development programme, including the redevelopment and construction of a number hospitals.

Vice-chair of the board Tim Bouchier Hayes was reappointed, as was architect and adviser John Cole.

It comes as Mr Donnelly defended the fact that some charities are fundraising for medical equipment for the new hospital. In a written question People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett asked Mr Donnelly if he was aware that a fully registered and regulated charity is fundraising to provide a paediatric MRI scanner to the new children’s hospital. Mr Boyd Barrett asked why this was the case “given the vast amount of taxpayers’ money that is been spent on the hospital.”

Mr Donnelly said that Children’s Health Ireland advised that “individuals and charitable groups from time to time decide to raise funds for children in hospital in Ireland, and this motivation can be based on altruism, a good experience in services, or a wish to improve access. Children’s Health Ireland engages with such individuals and groups to establish how the funds raised can be applied to support sick children in line with donors’ wishes. Children’s Health Ireland has further advised that philanthropy features in many hospitals internationally, and support from philanthropy can add value to services.”

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times