Tag Archives: National Children’s Hospital

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


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



Minister for health Simon Harris

There you go now.


Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has written to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin asking him to make clear whether his party has confidence in the Minister for Health and whether his party would support a no-confidence motion.

Ms McDonald wrote that Simon Harris’s position is untenable in a letter seen by RTÉ News.

McDonald asks for Fianna Fáil to clarify support for Harris over hospital (RTÉ)

Earlier: Abysmal


This afternoon.

Leinster House, Dublin 2

Members of the Connolly For Children’s Hospital group, including Edel Kilillea (above) asking the government to build the new Children’s Hospital at a greenfield site at Connolly beside the M50 instead of pushing ahead with the budget-ballooning, city centre St. James’s site.

Makes sense.

Doomed so.

Connolly For Children’s Hospital (Facebook)

Earlier: No ‘Early Warning Signal’

Sam Boal/RollingNews

 Minister for Health Simon Harris appearing at a Health Committee meeting this morning

This morning.

Streaming live here.

More as we get it.

Pic via Rollingnews

Could a civil servant have alerted Simon Harris of cost overruns? (Irish Examiner)

Previously: Well Warned


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the Dáil this afternoon

This afternoon in the Dáil.

The Taoiseach said the following about the €450,000 PwC report which is expected to examine how and why the cost of the National Children’s Hospital has ballooned:

“The terms of reference for the review by PwC into the escalation of costs, that they are being revised at present. But the review will deal with accountability of relevant key parties, functions and roles. The prohibition against making findings against individuals will be removed.

“It will establish he sequence of events in relation to the cost increases experienced by the project; establish what was known; when and by whom; and will cover bodies including the NBH, [inaudible], committees, HSE and also the Department of Health.

“And it will also be asked to identify any areas where potential cost savings or reductions, which are consistent with the applicable contractual undertakings, may be found.”

Previously: Well Warned

Watch Dáil proceedings live here

RTÉ’s Caitriona Perry and Minister for Health Simon Harris on RTÉ’s Six One last night

Last night.

On RTÉ’s Six One.

Caitriona Perry interviewed the Minister for Health Simon Harris about the overrun at the National Children’s Hospital.

She pointed out he first learned about the cost overrun last August, the scale of the overrun last November November and that he won’t take any action until he receives a €450,000 report from PwC which is due to be finished by March of this year.

They had the following exchange:

Caitriona Perry: “Is that good enough or did you take your eye off the ball here?”

Simon Harris: “No, of course, I should be held accountable for the decision that I made when I advised the Government that we needed to proceed with this project.”


Perry: “…It’s such an important project, you said yourself there for the children of this country. Why did it take from August until November for you to find out about the scale of the overruns?”

Harris: “So at the end of August, it became apparent that there was going to be a significant overrun but my department, as indeed as a Government minister, we did what we’re actually meant to do. We did due diligence. There were a number of expert reports commissioned. And ultimately the body that’s responsible for delivering the hospital – the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board – came back on the 9th of November with the scale of the overrun being clear.”

Perry:Should you not have been demanding, day in day out, that someone tell you just how much this project was going over by?”

Harris: “I was very determined and confident that we had professionals in place to deliver this project. The board delivering the project is a ‘who’s who’ when it comes to construction and procurement issues. So I think actually the job of the minister is to put people in place, who have the professional skills to deliver a project.

It’s also the job of a minister then, when challenges emerge, to make tough decisions. And the decision to proceed with this project was a tough one because of the scale of the cost. But I have no doubt the only decision I would have regretted was if I didn’t proceed with it.”

Mr Harris went on to say that he and his department were “seeking constant updates” while his Secretary General [Jim Breslin] is chairing a steering group on the matter – the Children’s Hospital Project and Programme steering group.

Watch back in full here


Illustration by Gary Reddin, from Sligo.

Gary Reddin (Facebook)

Previously: Gary Reddin on Broadsheet

Thanks Gary

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (right) and Minister for Health Simon Harris

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) raised concerns nearly two years ago about governance arrangements for the development of the planned new national children’s hospital, official files suggest.

The department said it had been assured by the Department of Health that there were “sufficiently robust” arrangements in place to oversee the construction of the hospital, which is now at the centre of controversy over a massive cost overrun.

Department had concerns over children’s hospital two years ago (Irish Times)

Yesterday: Pick A Number





Construction work on the National Children’s Hospital earlier this month

The final cost of the new national children’s hospital could exceed €2 billion, the Public Accounts Committee has heard.

Labour’s health spokesperson Alan Kelly said it is “mind boggling” that up to September last year, the cost of the project was expected to be €983m and four months later it cannot be guaranteed that it will come in under €2bn.

The overall cost of the project has now risen to a total of €1.733bn.

PAC told final cost of children’s hospital could be over €2bn (RTÉ)


From top: National Children’s Hospital site this morning; National Paediatric Hospital Development Board Project Director John Pollock; Stephen Donnelly, Fianna Fáil health spokesman, and the Department of Health’s Assistant Secretary Tracey Conroy at a meeting of the Oireachtas health committee today

This afternoon.

At a meeting of the Oireachtas health committee – which is discussing the overspend at the new National Children’s Hospital with representatives from the Department of Health and the HSE…

The committee heard that, last August, the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board warned the Department of Health and Minister for Health Simon Harris that the cost of the National Children’s Hospital could top a billion euro.

Last month The Irish Times reported the total cost for developing the facility at St James’s Hospital was expected to be more than €1.73 billion.

Fianna Fáil TD Stephen Donnelly pointed out that Irish taxpayers will pay over twice as much per bed at the NCH as the two most expensive hospitals ever built in the world.

Mr Donnelly repeatedly asked Ms Conroy if she believed this represents a “catastrophic failure of management”.

Eventually, Ms Conroy said “I don’t”.

Watch the exchange here from 35.35.


Watch the meeting live here