Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called for an immediate suspension of all decisions relating to the construction of the new Children’s Hospital at St. James pending an investigation into how one of the architectural firms chosen to design the new hospital was selected. Deputy McGrath was speaking as anger mounts among parents and groups advocating the needs of sick children who are baffled at how the contract was assigned to O’Connell Mahon Architects despite its previous project for a proposed Children’s Hospital at the Mater having been refused planning permission by An Bord Pleanala:
“I am being contacted on an almost daily basis by parents and groups who are stunned at the lack of high level engagement on this matter. Not only have the Architects of the disastrous Mater debacle been reassigned to this new project, but now the very same road engineers who contributed to the controversy are re-involved.
Organisations like the Jack & Jill Foundation are totally bewildered at this latest turn of events which will do nothing to inspire confidence or offer hope to the many sick and vulnerable children who will have to rely on this new facility.
I will be seeking ways to bring this matter before the Dáil Public Accounts Committee given that there has already been an estimated loss of between €40 or €50million paid out in professional fees for the now defunct Mater proposal.
We seem to be on an endless merry-go-round of wasted fees and incoherent proposals and the only people getting any enjoyment out of it are the same companies who have already proven that their designs are unlikely to pass Bord Pleanala guidelines.
What is most disheartening about all of this is the near total absence of consultation with the parents of these sick children who know what is and what is not required and what is certainly not required is to bring back in the same chefs who made a dogs dinner of the Mater project.
It is time we defer to the parents insights and the insights of people like Jonathan Irwin and Senator Mary Ann O’Brien of Jack & Jill who as things stand have already saved the State millions by raising €47 million privately over the last number of years while receiving only €4.5 million from the HSE. By any standard that is the kind of efficiency and high quality approach to children’s care we should be emulating,” concluded Deputy McGrath.