Dublin based Senator and Seanad Group Leader, Catherine Ardagh has said that important questions need to be asked of the Department of Health, and the HSE, about how the State is facing the overruns at the much needed National Children’s Hospital.

Earlier today the Government lost a vote tabled by Senator Ardagh which called for the Minister for Health to appear before the Seanad to explain why the Director General, of the HSE, Tony O’Brien stated at the Future of Healthcare Committee that the new Children’s Hospital will not be progressing.

Speaking in the Seanad before Minister Catherine Bryne tonight, Senator Ardagh said, “I am disappointed that Minister Harris has not attended the House this evening to provide clarity on the this important matter.

“100 years on from the foundation of the State and the most unwell of our children are being treated in substandard medical facilities or in many cases, not being treated at all.

“It has become a matter of fact that Ireland needs a National Children’s Hospital,” added the Senator.

“Despite continual promises, it is most unlikely that the hospital will be fully operational by 2021. The Minister and his close colleagues have shown a complete lack of impetus to find solutions to tackle the already mounting costs.

“The distinct failure to provide leadership, and execute this critically needed project has led to additional time delays, subsequently leading to rising construction and related costs. It is extraordinary how the reported costs to develop the hospital have increased by 50% over the course of 12 months.

“The State is already expected to foot an additional €300 million euro bill, while continued delays are set to only increase that taxpayer bill even further.

“We need clarity and answers over the development of this hospital but the crucial questions I raised have fallen on deaf ears and remain unanswered. The hopeless situation faced by those in need of clinical treatment and appropriate health care, cannot continue.

“As we are all too acutely aware following the RTE Investigates programme which aired this week, there has never been greater case to urgently develop a paediatric hospital which delivers the best possible outcomes for all our children,” concluded Ardagh.