Fianna Fáil Leader and TD for Cork South Central Micheál Martin has called on the Health Minister to explain why the extension of the paediatric unit at Cork University Hospital has still not been approved.

He is seeking clarity from the government on capital funding plans for the health service for 2019.

Deputy Martin said, “It is incredible that we are now five months into the year and the Minister still has not approved the capital funding budget for 2019. This is beyond comprehension and is leading to delays in key projects.

“The current paediatric unit at CUH is in need of a major extension and overhaul to bring it in line with best practice, particularly for children who are being treated there in the longer term. The outpatient unit underwent a transformation a number of years ago and we need to see the same improvements made for inpatients.

“Preliminary plans for the extension have already been drawn up and submitted but are “subject to the availability of capital funding”. In a Parliamentary Reply, the HSE claimed the Capital Plan for 2019 is still being finalised. This in itself is worrying as it is now May, but I am equally concerned about what impact the huge overspend on the Children’s Hospital will have on this and other health projects.

“Fine Gael needs to come clean about what projects are going to be delayed or shelved as a result of its failure to manage the Children’s Hospital budget. The irony is not lost on me that children in Cork could see a vital expansion project in CUH could be pushed out because of the Dublin overspend.

“I am calling on Minister Harris to urgently clarify whether the extension at CUH will be approved and when work can be expected to begin”, concluded Deputy Martin.