Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Tuesday, 5 February 2019
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach
I will not spend further time on the matter, but the Minister knows it needs to be sorted sooner rather than later, and the committee really needs to know the daily figure for the financial consequences of the nurses' strike.
Moving on to the situation of the children's hospital, I think the reason people are so angry is that it is one of a whole line of procurement failures. People have lost confidence in those, including the Minister, who are managing the procurement process and continue using the procurement model that has led us to so many failures. These failures include the situation we faced with Carillion, which the committee examined; the national broadband plan; and JobPath, which will be discussed in the Dáil later this evening and in respect of which we have spent approximately €100 million on engaging private companies. We never saw the contracts that allowed JobPath to bring back thousands of vulnerable jobseekers again and again and get repaid for doing so, each job costing citizens over €3,000. It is because of all these issues together that I certainly do not have confidence in the procurement processes. I wonder how much more is happening beyond what we have had sight of and how much more money is being wasted. We compare this with the procurement rules for the smaller community organisations, the rural affairs organisations and the local authorities, which cannot buy a packet of biscuits without going through a rigid procurement process.
As the person with whom the buck stops, what would the Minister do differently about the national children's hospital if it was 18 or 12 months ago? Will he change the procurement models in use as they are not serving us?