Just 27 of 3,000 rooms currently completed as Children's Hospital update comes as body blow 2 months ago

Just 27 of 3,000 rooms currently completed as Children's Hospital update comes as body blow

The nation has been engrossed in one payment scandal, for the past few weeks, but a much older one rumbles on.

Back in 2015, construction costs for the National Children's Hospital (NCH) were estimated to come in at around €600 million. On Tuesday, eight years and no completed hospital later, the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the current budget was still at €1.433 billion but that was not expected to cover final costs.


"We expect it to be completed and handed over next year," Varadkar told the Dáil. "We'd expect it to be open to patients towards the end of next year or early 2025 at the latest."

On the same day as Varadkar made those comments, many in Ireland were engrossed with the Public Accounts Committee as it featured an appearance from Ryan Tubridy, discussing additional payments he received from RTÉ that were never properly disclosed. The final sum Tubridy may end up paying back is expected to be €150,000 although many grey areas remain.

An Oireachtas committee has, today [Wednesday, July 12], heard that the cost of the new children's hospital is expected to cost over €2 billion, with just 27 rooms completed out of a target of 3,000 at this point.

The board of the hospital project also told the Oireachtas Health Committee on Wednesday that the contractor for the build, BAM, has failed to provide a progress report since February.


In his opening statement, David Gunning, the chief officer of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) said:

"The most recent progress report received from BAM – in April 2023 for works up to February 2023 – stated the substantial completion date would be May 2024 which is 21 months beyond the original contracted completion date of 4 August 2022 and 18 months beyond the contractual substantial completion date of November 2022.

"BAM had previously confirmed in writing that an updated programme would be submitted by the 7 July 2023, we are still awaiting this programme. While I understand how frustrating this is for the members, it is very difficult to provide a firm answer on the completion date in the absence of a compliant contract programme."

Children's Hospital Latest pictures of the new children's hospital. (Photo: HSE)

The NPHDB meet with the Oireachtas committee on Health

The NPHDB told the Oireachtas committee on Health that BAM achieved only 67 per cent of its planned output levels in the last 12 months. There have also been additional cost claims made by BAM.

According to the statement, 2,175 claims have been raised up to the end of June of this year, with the substantiated value as claimed by BAM sitting at €756 million.

The 27 rooms currently completed represent just 1% of the amount of rooms projected to be built. Those completed rooms also "presented a large number of snags."


An Taoiseach told the Dáil, "Infrastructure projects like these are huge, they’re complex... but I want to reassure the House that everything possible is being done to ensure this project is completed as soon as possible."

WATCH: Ryan Tubridy lists '7 untruths' about pay scandal in explosive Oireachtas opening statement

*Additional reporting by Pat McCarry

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