Thursday, 7 February 2019
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
It is interesting that Fine Gael Ministers have gone missing today. We have just finished a debate in which the Minister for Finance, Deputy Donohoe, discussed the need for fiscal stability in the context of wage agreements. Everyone agrees with that, but it is very difficult to take that lecture, given what is happening with the national children's hospital project. There was no worry about fiscal stability and taking responsibility or control during that debacle. For the thousands of nurses who are on the picket line for a third day, patients and psychiatric nurses who are subject to an overtime ban, it is very difficult to listen to lectures, in the light of the information that is continuing to come out on the goings on in the context of the cost overrun on the national children's hospital. Within the past few minutes Jennifer Bray has released information in The Irish Timeswhich outlines that there was a meeting of the project management board of the national children's hospital in September 2018 which was chaired by the Secretary General of the Department of Health at which information was presented which suggested there would be a cost overrun of up to €400 million. We have been asked to believe this information was not passed on to the Minister for Health, Deputy Harris, or the Minister for Finance, Deputy Donohoe, despite the fact that the Secretary General had it in his possession in September ahead of this year's budget preparations.