Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health, Billy Kelleher has said that questions need to be asked of the Department of Health, and the HSE, about how the State is facing an additional €300 million bill for the much needed National Children’s Hospital.

“Decision making at the highest levels of the Department and HSE seems to be everyone else’s responsibility. Ministers and officials must take responsibility, take a decision and execute that decision.

“The failure to give leadership, and execute this badly needed development has led to additional time delays, leading to rising construction and related costs.

“The minimum cost of the new hospital will now reach more than €1.2 billion euro when ancillary costs are included.

“That’s the vast majority of the HSE’s capital budget swallowed up. It needs to be spent, but what about the additional acute hospital beds that are needed around the country to stem the ED overcrowding crisis?

“Ireland needs a national Children’s Hospital. We cannot have a situation, nearly 100 years after the foundation of the State, where the sickest of our children are being treated in sub-standard facilities.

“It’s now very unlikely that the hospital will be open and treating children by 2021, despite what the Minister and his officials promise.

“The Minister must urgently bring the memo to cabinet and obtain approval to begin construction, and also seek additional funds from Minister O’Donoghue to fund the other infrastructure projects needed.

“I’m not going to pretend that delays don’t happen, but what I am concerned about is the lack of impetus being shown by the Minister, and his senior official, to find solutions to claw back time delays and reduce the exploding costs.

“Additional delays will only add to the bill that taxpayers will have to pay,” concluded Kelleher.