Fianna Fáil Deputy Leader, Dara Calleary TD, has said that a Fianna Fáil Bill which would give greater oversight on the spending on major capital projects, should be progressed without delay in light of the massive overspend on the National Children’s Hospital.

Deputy Calleary was commenting as the cost of the National Children’s Hospital has spiralled out of control, exceeding 1.4 billion euro.  “The Comptroller and Auditor General (Amendment) Bill which I introduced in 2017, seeks to tighten up public scrutiny of spending on major capital projects such as this one.

“The Bill would mandate the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) to formally review the performance of key projects that reach certain spending levels. We know that an extra €99 million is needed in 2019 alone; to plug the gap caused by the huge overspend on the National Children’s Hospital.

“50 million euro will need to be found in 2019 capital budget for Health and a further 49 million euro will be needed from the capital budget for other Departments. What we don’t know is the extent to which this will impact other vital projects.

“We have a farcical situation whereby consultants have now been called in to review the overspend at a cost of €450,000 – had this Bill been enacted, it would remove the need for any external costly review.

“The Government have made much ado announcing their capital plans and in reality actual performance reviews have been lacking. We need more transparency in the way that public money is spent, to guarantee value for money and to ensure best practice is adhered to. My Comptroller and Auditor General (Amendment) Bill will help to achieve that”, concluded Deputy Calleary.