Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform, Barry Cowen TD, has said that officials from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform should appear in front of the Budget Oversight Committee to discuss the cost overruns at the National Children’s Hospital.

Deputy Cowen explained, “Officials from Department of Public Expenditure and Reform declined to appear in front of the Health Committee this week in relation to cost overruns with the National Children’s Hospital.  This was despite the fact officials from the Department of Health and the HSE made themselves available to that Committee.

“The Committee on Budgetary Oversight was established to improve the level of budget scrutiny by the Oireachtas. It is therefore critical that officials from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform make themselves available to the Committee to explain the Department’s role in the massive escalation of costs with regards to the National Children’s Hospital.

“The types of questions which need to be asked are; was the Office of Government Procurement involved in any part of the process? What oversight did the Department provide, if any, on the budgeting and tendering process when it comes to the National Children’s Hospital? I have requested that the Committee invite DPER officials to appear in front of the Committee at the earliest convenience and I will be putting these questions and more to them.

“Last year the Committee discussed at length, the budget overrun at the Department of Health. This is a very similar issue and there needs to be full transparency. The only way for this to happen, is for officials to appear in front of the Committee and be held to account”, concluded Deputy Cowen.