Fianna Fáil TD for Waterford, Mary Butler has asked the Government to confirm that the €4.35 million funding previously earmarked for a 2nd permanent Cath lab at University Hospital Waterford remains in place following the confirmation of significant budget overruns on the National Children’s Hospital project.

Deputy Butler was commenting after the second day of questioning of senior Department of Health officials at the Oireachtas Health Committee on the exponential rise in expected costs for the children’s hospital in Dublin.

“Don’t get me wrong. We need this hospital built, but to total cost rising from just over €400 million in 2012 to an expected €1.4 billion now puts many of the capital health projects at risk.

“The Oireachtas members from the South East were promised by Minister Harris that the €4.35 million funding needed to deliver a 2nd Cath Lab would be delivered as part of the 2019 health capital plan.

“Minister Harris must now confirm that this has not been affected by the financial mismanagement of the National Children’s Hospital.

“Last Saturday, thousands of people from the South East took to the streets of Waterford to protest at the lack of 24/7 cardiac care at UHW. This uncertainty, following progress made by the South East Oireachtas members working together, is very worrying and is not acceptable. Clarity is necessary; any further delay in delivering this permanent Cath Lab will not be tolerated.

“On the wider issue of the budget overruns, the buck stops with the Government, and the relevant ministers. The Taoiseach during his time as Health Minister was aware of the growing costs yet did nothing. Now as Taoiseach, he has overseen further increases and has still done nothing.

“Answers are needed as to why various Ministers sat on their hands and let costs rocket. The people of Waterford and the South East deserve improved health facilities every bit as much as the people inside the M50,” concluded Butler.