Collins accuses Health Minister of “zero political leadership” on National Children’s Hospital

Deputy Michael Collins has described the National Children’s Hospital build as a “debacle” and sharply criticised what he said was the “stark incompetence of Health Minister Stephen Donnelly” which he claimed showcased the government’s incapacity to efficiently oversee the allocation of public funds.

The Cork South West TD stated: “The National Children’s Hospital debacle is a stark illustration of the government’s lack of accountability and responsible use of scarce taxpayers’ funds.”

“From missed deadlines to blown budgets, and even the ill-fated selection of an unsuitable location, this project has turned into a colossal mess, and it’s astounding that no one is being held accountable,” he said. 

He was sharply critical of what he said was the Health Minister’s “zero political leadership” on the issue. “This level of dereliction of duty from a government minister is nothing short of negligence,” Deputy Collins said. 

“The gravity of the situation is exacerbated by the alarming projected timeline for the hospital’s completion. We are looking at the possibility of at least two more years passing before a child receives treatment at the hospital. With Dr. Roisin Healy, a former leading consultant, sounding the alarm that the hospital may not be ready for patients until 2030, it’s clear that this project is careening toward becoming the world’s lengthiest construction and most expensive medical facility.”

“Amidst this chaos, what does the Health Minister do? He deflects blame onto unrelated factors like the war in Ukraine while failing to provide even a ballpark opening date. This stark disconnect underscores his unwillingness to take responsibility.”

“The lack of a coherent procurement strategy has entangled the State in a legal quagmire with BAM, the developers, over a staggering 2,000 claims totalling over €760 million.

Despite repeated delays in the project’s completion date the developers continue to shift the goalposts, leaving us in a state of perpetual uncertainty. This continuous chaos paints a grim picture of the entire endeavour.”

“The National Children’s Hospital’s exorbitant cost places it among the most expensive structures worldwide. The absence of a finalized design during the project’s inception has paved the way for escalating claims and unchecked expenses. It’s a glaring example of ineptitude and a complete disregard for taxpayers’ hard-earned money.”

“The National Children’s Hospital debacle is a stain on the government’s track record. It stands as a stark reminder of the monumental incompetence that has marred this undertaking. It’s high time Minister Donnelly steps up, offers transparency, and takes corrective action.” concluded Deputy Collins.

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