April 25, 2024

Fury as taxpayer bill for National Children’s Hospital set to rise to €2bn

TAXPAYERS from Kilkenny and the rest of the country may be forced to fork out €2 billion to cover the spiralling cost of the National Children’s Hospital (NCH).

The latest overspending bombshell to hit the beleaguered project was dropped by Labour TD Alan Kelly, who is also a member of the Dáil spending watchdog.

Speaking today, Deputy Kelly said Department of Health boss Jim Breslin is unable to guarantee the costs won’t rise above the current expected spend totalling €1.7 billion.

Mr Breslin appeared before the Dáil’s Public Accounts committee along with members of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) and officials from the HSE.

The NCH project has been mired in controversy since it was revealed that construction costs of the hospital – to be opened in 2022 – have spiralled from €983m to more than €1.4bn.

There are additional costs of around €300m for fitting out the new hospital with ICT and electronic health records among other items – bringing the total overall to more than €1.7 billion.

This would effectively make the NCH the most expensive hospital on the planet.

Mr Kelly asked Mr Breslin if he could guarantee the project will come in under €2bn.

Mr Breslin said the only variation on the guaranteed maximum price of construction costs of €1.433bn – are items not covered by the contract.

He said the Department of Health is carrying out a “sensitivity analysis” on the impact of these items but it has not yet been completed.

Mr Kelly said he believes the final bill for the NCH project will eventually “come in well in excess of €1.7bn”.

He further claimed that public confidence in the State to deliver large projects at the estimated costs is gone.


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