Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said he is bitterly disappointed at the decision of both Fianna Fail and the Labour Party not to support a Motion calling for the suspension of works at the National Children’s Hospital at St James pending the outcome of an Independent Investigation. Deputy McGrath was speaking after he and members of the Rural Independent Group along with several other Independent deputies sought support for their Private Members Motion on the issue:
“Last night, all the members of the Dáil had an opportunity to re-evaluate their support for the location of the NCH at St James’ in light of the catastrophic cost over-runs and ongoing access issues.
I am sorry to say that instead of doing that, they chose to support this government in its absolutely bewildering decision to proceed at this disastrous site.
We had the Health Spokesperson for Fianna Fail, Deputy Stephen Donnelly openly accept that at €1.7 billion, the Irish people are paying several times more per bed than the most expensive hospitals anywhere in the world.
In addition to that he also accepted that the two most expensive hospitals ever built, in Adelaide and Stockholm, came in at €1.8 million and €1.6 million per hospital bed.
The national children’s hospital, coming in at €3.6 million per hospital bed, is therefore more than twice that of the most expensive hospitals ever built.
Yet despite this he then turned around and actively supported the government decision to proceed on the unsubstantiated basis that it might take “ten years” for the greenfield site location to get up and going.
Not only was this utterly bizarre and nonsensical-it was a perfect illustration of the two faced approach to this issue that has dominated the Fianna Fail position.
Labour were no better. Deputy Alan Kelly accepted the whole process was an unmitigated farce and yet he too rowed in behind Minister Harris and the government. The hypocrisy is rank.
It was also pointed out during the debate that the very PWC Report into the cost overruns, estimated at €450,000 is now going to be approx €600,000 or more when the 23% vat rate and expenses are added in.
Those who lost most from this debate are of course the families and children of the state who will have to live with this monumental failure of political courage for decades to come,” concluded Deputy McGrath.