Catherine Murphy TD

The final cost of delivering the new National Children’s Hospital is likely to exceed the €2.24 billion projected by the Government and may not be known for years, according to Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy.

Deputy Murphy, who is vice-chair of the Public Accounts Committee, said:

“Confirmation from the Minister for Health today that the cost of building the hospital has shot up by more than €500m will come as little surprise. It has been clear for some time that the final figure was likely to come in over the €2 billion mark, which is a considerable distance from the revised €1.4 billion estimated cost of the project back in 2018.

“The development has been beset with disputes between BAM and the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB), with thousands of claims amounting to hundreds of millions lodged. Any claims not settled through the agreed resolution process between the contractor and the NPHDB could end up in the High Court, meaning it could be many more years before the final cost of the children’s hospital is known.

“The Taoiseach suggested today that there would be years of disputes with the developer over payments that could result in costs being spread out over 10 to 15 years. This makes it even more likely that the €2.24 billion figure announced by the Government may turn out to be a conservative estimate of the final bill.

“It is also concerning that the opening date of the children’s hospital appears to be a moving target. Despite the Minister for Health’s stated ambition that the facility will start treating its first patients in April or May of 2025, he added a caveat that this would be subject to the developer delivering on its commitment. Given the number of times the timeline for the completion of the hospital has slipped, this is hardly a ringing endorsement by the Minister and certainly does not inspire confidence.”

February 13, 2024

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