Tag Archives: National Children’s Hospital

Today’s meeting of the Public Accounts Committee can be watched in link above or here.

Previously: Fill Your Boots




Building & Allied Trades’ Union (BATU) President Martin Malone (above) and bricklayers Terry Dey and Karl Deregan (pic 2) this morning

This morning.

St James’s Hospital site, Dublin.

SIPTU activists and members of other construction industry unions protest outside the site of the new National Children’s Hospital to highlight bogus self-employment in the construction sector.

Related: Bogus Self Employment: The Abuse That Keeps On Taking

RollingNews

More than €1m has been paid to a communications company managing publicity for the National Children’s Hospital, it has emerged.

In 2015, €204,509 was paid to communications company Q4PR.

This increased to €274,567 in 2016,

€276,467 the following year,

and €248,050 in 2018.

The Dublin-based firm’s contract is due to continue until March 2021.

€1m paid to publicists for National Children’s Hospital (Irish Examiner)

This morning.

At a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee.

Chair of the committee Sean Fleming, above, raised a matter he referred to as “hiding in plain sight”.

He told the committee that correspondence it received from the HSE had confirmed that PwC were last year engaged to advise the HSE about the Government’s decision regarding what to do about the National Children’s Hospital.

But, two months later, in January 2019, PwC was also paid almost €500,000 to carry out a review of the hospital’s cost overruns.

Mr Fleming said:

“It was inappropriate of the HSE to request PwC to carry out that report given that PwC, at the request of the HSE, only two months earlier were involved in the process reviewing the gross maximum cost and providing their professional and specialist input from a financial point of view to the HSE which led to the decision for the project to proceed…”

He added that it was a “gross conflict of interest” on the part of PwC and HSE were “very wrong” to commission PwC for both reports.

Mr Fleming added that the HSE also knew about the conflict.

He also said that, as Independent TD Catherine Connolly mentioned previously, while PwC wasn’t requested to give any conclusion about the best option for the hospital, following its examination in January, it did anyway and this was to conclude that the project should go ahead.

He said:

“Here we have, PwC, in a report, drawing a conclusion, saying that the decision that was made, as a result of their previous, professional input to the earlier decision-making process was the correct decision in relation to proceeding.

“I find it extraordinary…”

Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane said, it seemed to him, that PwC was paid twice for the same advice.

He also noted that, in the correspondence from the HSE, the HSE stated it’s satisfied there was no conflict of interest.

Independent TD Catherine Connolly asked if the Government knew that PwC had been previously been involved before it was hired in January.

Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy said, in her opinion, such conflicts can cause “corruption of a process”.

She said the committee will likely be told about “Chinese walls” but she said the committee needs to know if the same arm of the company carried out the two reports.

Ms Murphy pointed out that there have been recent news reports in the UK about the over dominance of the four big accountancy firms [namely Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC]

In light of that, she asked:

“Do we design our rules that really don’t allow more entities into that space? I suspect that we make it much more difficult for middle-ranking firms to compete and we need to look at that. Because that would have a bearing on value for money.”

Watch back here

From top: the PWC report into cost overruns at the National Children’s Hospital; graph depicting the original budget and additional costs

A report into cost overruns at the National Children’s Hospital has warned that the final cost of the project could exceed €1.7bn.

According to the review, “significant failures” occurred during the crucial planning and budgeting stages.

It found that the project could never be delivered within the financial parameters agreed.

It warned that risks remain with the project and if these are not effectively managed, it could lead to further costs rises in the capital works….

Read full PWC report here here

Earlier: ‘Red Flags Missed’

Review over new children’s hospital warns final cost could exceed €1.7bn (RTÉ)

 

At site of the National Children’s Hospital on the campus of St James’s Hospital in Dublin; graph from a PwC report on the hospital’s overspend

More as they get it.

Children’s hospital report says final cost will exceed €1.73bn (The Irish Times)

Rollingnews

Graph: Gavan Reilly

Chief Executive Children’s Hospital Group Elish Hardiman, Minister for Health Simon Harris TD and Project Director of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board John Pollock in 2017

Yesterday.

Project Director of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board John Pollock resigned after holding the position for five years and four months.

His resignation is the fifth resignation from the project.

Anyone?

Children’s hospital: Engineer in charge of project resigns (Paul Cullen, The Irish Times)

Sam Boal/Rollingnews

This evening.

Earlier…

Robert Watt, Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure answering questions about the National Children’s Hospital overruns this morning at PAC this morning

The most senior civil servant in charge of public spending has become embroiled in a row with members of the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee over claims he said they were “a mob” that needed to be controlled.

Sinn Féin’s David Culliane told the committee it was reported by a “very responsible journalist” that Mr Watt had said, outside of the committee room, that Committee Chairman Sean Fleming, “needs to control the mob.”

Mr Watt said: “I don’t recall saying it to be honest but if I did say it, it is a colloquial expression. It is not in any way intended to be demeaning to anybody. I don’t recollect to be honest.”

…Fianna Fáil’s Mark MacSharry said that the 18-page opening statement to the committee from Mr Watt did not mention the new children’s hospital once.

He described this as a ‘Harvey Smith‘ to the committee.

Watt embroiled in row over ‘mob’ comments about PAC (RTÉ)

Watch: PAC chairman ‘highly frustrated’ over senior official’s absence (RTÉ)

UPDATE:

Then Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe (right) with Theo Cullinane BAM CEO at the N7 Newlands Cross junction upgrade unveiling in 2014

BAM Chief Executive Theo Cullinane said if the board wished to “procure the work in some other way” they will “co-operate with them to facilitate this option”….

…In a statement, the Kildare-based firm said it did not benefit inappropriately from the tender process for the project.

The company said much of the commentary surrounding the tendering process is “based on incomplete and inaccurate information“.

The company has also said it has written to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, requesting him to clarify that comments he made in the Dáil on Tuesday 12  [Low Balls] February were not referring to BAM.

Firm building children’s hospital says board can ‘opt out of contract’ (RTÉ)

Previously: Low Balls

Rollingnews

From left:  Minister for Health Simon Harris, Vice-President Andrew McDowell of the European Investment Bank, the President of the EIB, Mr Werner Hoyer, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe , and  Taoiseach Leo Varadkar look at a model before the signing of documents for the European Investment Bank (EIB) loan for the new Childrens’ Hospital in December, 2017

“We have a real concern that some companies have been low-balling, coming in with very low tender prices to get the contract and then coming back with claims thereafter,” Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Dáil in answer to Opposition questions about the children’s hospital costs.

“There are one or two contractors who, quite frankly, I would not like to see get a public contract again in this State,” Mr Varadkar added.

Later, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe declined to say if the Government believed this had happened with the hospital contract.

“It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to comment on that because a decision has now been made on the tender and who is doing the work,” he said.

State to examine if unrealistically low bids submitted to win contracts (irish Times)

Yesterday: The Eye Of Soaring

Rollingnews

Meanwhile…