Mattie McGrath: “Government Department’s now treating National Children’s Hospital as a poisoned chalice”

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has launched a scathing attack on the unwillingness of Government Departments to effectively come to grips with the skyrocketing costs associated with the National Children’s Hospital at St James. Deputy McGrath was speaking after a Priority Oral Question he had submitted on the matter of costs was explicitly refused by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform:

“It is now absolutely clear that a tragedy of generational significance is unfolding before our eyes with respect to the National Children’s Hospital.

I asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to provide the details of all moneys provided by the State toward the development of a national paediatric hospital since 2006, including all costs associated with development such as design, planning, land acquisition, consultation, media and public relations, board payments, bonuses and so on; and if approvals have been sought for an increase in the original estimate for the current National Children’s Hospital project.

That is a question that the Minister and his Department saw fit to reject for reasons that are absolutely baffling, especially when one considers that the Department’s ‘Mission Statement’ is: To serve the country, its people and the Government by delivering well-managed and well-targeted public spending, through modernised, effective and accountable public services.

All of this clearly speaks to a growing and visible reluctance for anyone in government circles to take responsibility for this project.

The attitude is very much; ‘just get it done and be damned with the costs, we can always put it down to inflation increases plucked from thin air.’

What was supposed to be dream project for the children of Ireland has descended into a political and economic nightmare.

Why has the Minister and the Department distanced itself from this issue? Why is there no political accountability for a project which the dogs on the street can see is going to lead to extremely adverse medical outcomes and totally avoidable deaths,” concluded Deputy McGrath.

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