Éirígí South-West Inner City representative and local election candidate, Damien Farrell, has today condemned the massive overspend on the new National Children’s Hospital. The hospital is now projected to cost €1.433 billion, over €450 million higher than the €983 million approved by the Dublin government in 2017.
This figure is expected to rise even further in the coming months and years. Other health projects will now be affected as a result, with the impact on future health capital projects to be felt for the next five years. It is projected that over €100 million from the 2019 health capital budget will now go towards bridging the hospital’s funding gap.
Speaking from his home in Rialto, across the road from the site of the new hospital, Farrell said,
“It is no surprise that the overspend on the new National Children’s Hospital is now heading for half a billion euros. It fits a well-established pattern of gross incompetence by government and state agencies in relation to major infrastructural projects and public monies.
A handful of private companies operate a virtual monopoly when it comes to the construction of public hospitals, schools, motorways and other pieces of vital public infrastructure. The political establishment and senior public servants are funneling tens of billions of euros of public monies to these companies without securing maximum value for the taxpayer. They find it easy to write blank cheques with other people’s money.”
“If the NCH situation wasn’t already bad enough, PricewaterhouseCoopers will now be handed €450,000 of tax-payers money to find out why there was such a massive overspend in the first place. PWC is itself one of a handful of multinational consultancy firms that have grown rich off the back off of public contracts. The situation would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious.
As a result of the state’s calamitous handling of the NCH, other healthcare projects will now be delayed or possibly abandoned. The sick and vulnerable are going to pay the human cost for a healthcare system that is simply not fit for purpose.
We need to replace this dysfunctional health service with one that is efficient, secular, single-tier and publicly owned. Such a service would ensure that all our people would have access to the high-quality healthcare they deserve. It would also make sure that everyone, from top to bottom, is held to account for their actions and inaction.”
Farrell concluded by highlighting the impact that the construction of the NCH is having on the surrounding community,
“As well as the massive overspend, which affects all tax-payers in the state, this project is also having a detrimental effect on the lives of local residents. In response to the wishes of the community, we helped carry out a survey about the impact of construction on the surrounding residential communities.
Over 200 residents completed the survey in November and December of 2018. The results and recommendation of the survey were collectively agreed in January. Noise/dust pollution and traffic/parking were the two issues with the greatest level of concern. This was evenly spread across the entire community, with 75% and 76% scoring “Worse” or “Much Worse” than it was 12 months ago. Everyone accepts that major infrastructural projects, like the NCH, must be built, but they must be done so with minimal disruption to the surrounding community.”