Róisín Shortall TD, co-leader of the Social Democrats, has referred to the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) the continued spending of public funds by the Government on works for the proposed new National Maternity Hospital.

“It is just reckless to continue to spend public money – €43m to date – on the new National Maternity Hospital, when there is no clarity or certainty on when or if the State will own the site on which the hospital is to be built.

“I am referring the Governments’ reckless spending to the Comptroller and Auditor General. Why is the State spending huge amounts of money with zero guarantee that there will ever be a public benefit? This is not the way to run good government.”

“The State is now in the ridiculous position of needing Vatican approval in order to build the hospital. This precise issue has been raised from the very beginning and, despite my calls over the last two years to the Minister for Health and the Taoiseach to come clean on what’s going on, the Government still don’t know whether or when the State will have control of the site for the badly-needed maternity hospital.

“This would be the first time that the Vatican would give permission for a religiously-owned site to be handed over to the State for a maternity hospital that would provide all services, including terminations. There is no certainty that permission will be forthcoming, and it is unacceptable for the Government to continue to spend public funds on the project until there is legal clarity and certainty that the project will go ahead.

“Yet again we have delay after delay in a major infrastructure project by this Government while those who urgently need the service are left waiting. From Housing, to the National Children’s Hospital to Broadband, this government are incompetent in delivering on the large-scale projects that is one of their core responsibilities.”

ENDS

24th Nov 2019