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07th Feb 2019

Sinn Féin call for Simon Harris to be removed from position following memo release that shows he knew children’s hospital was over budget

Rudi Kinsella

Level 4 Simon Harris

The memo shows that Harris knew about cost overruns from the National Children’s Hospital two months before last year’s Budget.

Minister for Health Simon Harris has tonight released the memo from last August that flagged the cost overruns at the National Children’s Hospital.

The memo showed that Harris was aware that the cost of the construction of the hospital was €191m over budget in August of 2018.

That brought the total possible overrun to €391m, which is also the amount detailed in the minutes of the project’s oversight board’s September meeting.

This is the first bit of confirmation that Minister Harris was fully aware of the issue at that time.

A statement released by Sinn Féin’s Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly on Thursday night called for Harris to be removed from his position as Minister for Health.

It read:

“Minster Harris’ story is unravelling before our very eyes.

“The memo published this evening clearly shows that he was aware of a €391million overrun at the hospital as far back as August yet he did not inform the his cabinet colleagues till November 9th.

“This means that he was aware of a massive cost overrun at the hospital while he and his government were putting together the budget for this year yet he never mentioned it till after the budget was announced.

“Minister Harris’ position is completely untenable. The Taoiseach must remove him from his position.

“There is also an onus on Fianna Fáil to make a statement on this matter and they have to stop protecting Minister Harris.  They hold the numbers on this. If Micheál Martin changes his position then we can move a motion of no confidence and the Minster will be gone as early as next week.”

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