Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health

Quarterly Update on Health Issues: Discussion
Quarterly Update on Health Issues: Discussion

Photo of Alan KellyAlan Kelly (Tipperary, Labour)
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Let us call a spade a spade. We knew around here that it was around €200 million. We have established that it was at least that on some level. In parallel, the Department was engaged in budget negotiations. Maybe there was concern that one would be conflated with the other. I do not want to suggest that but there may have been an issue. This beggars belief for any member of the public watching this.

I understand what Mr. Breslin said about the €61 million. The minutes of the steering group from 20 October 2017 state that John Pollock said they would have reasonable certainty about the size of the funding deficit by March 2018. They knew there would be a funding deficit of over €61 million. On 23 April 2018, it was said that the GMP approval was significantly at risk. Mr. Dean Sullivan chaired that meeting. On 31 May, it was said that a memorandum would go to Government by October. On 25 June, BAM was asked for a response about the implication of the delay. Throughout April, May and June, GMP was way off and was going to be in trouble. Throughout the process, the Departments of Public Expenditure and Reform and Health would have been aware that the GMP process had not been concluded.

The Department had people on the board and was aware of it. It had brought in layers of oversight. It had a steering group over the board and another board over the steering group. It brought that in because it had concerns and would not have done so otherwise. Concerns were expressed during the GMP process. I have read the minutes of April, May and June. How did those not escalate through the Department to the Minister? I know they came in August. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform was also aware of the GMP process. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has people who monitor all capital budget lines. It has people there specifically to deal with health. Why were they not asking? The GMP was way off. Was there any communication from it to the Department of Health saying that?