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 Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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-----on capital expenditure, on the hospital. The Minister did not know the final figure but he knew the cost had spiralled significantly. The entire fiscal space was just €800 million. The Minister and his officials would have been engaged in detailed negotiations with the Minister for Finance and his officials around the health budget for 2019, including the capital budget. This committee was looking in detail at the current expenditure overrun for last year, which was around €600 million or €700 million, and was spending time trying to identify ways of making sure there was no overrun in 2019. Fianna Fáil was in detailed negotiations with Government on the health budget and was looking for some big ticket items to the tune of many millions. We were also looking for very small ticket items - around €50,000 here or €100,000 there - so very detailed negotiations were taking place. The Dáil signed off on a budget, the HSE service plan was delivered, a capital plan was put together for healthcare for the following year and the whole time the Minister knew there was an additional overrun to the tune of several hundred million euro, which transpired to settle at €450 million. I know Fianna Fáil was not informed of it. It was a very pertinent piece of information in terms of a fiscal space of just €800 million. Can the Minister confirm that at no point during the entire budgetary process did he inform the Taoiseach or the Minister for Finance about this enormous overrun and the enormous amount of additional funding on top of the entire budget that would need to be found?