Paul Quinn has resigned but the cost overruns keep coming as Taoiseach indicates another potential increase

Chief procurement office for the state, Paul Quinn, has stepped down from the board of the National Children’s Hospital as chair of the finance subcommittee.

Quinn is the latest senior official to resign from the board in the past year following the resignation of John Pollock, chief engineer of the project, in March and Tom Costello, chairman of the board, in February. 

The project is already €455m over budget and there have been indications from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that further cost increases may be expected. Following one such signal it emerged via minutes from a meeting on the 7th of August that Quinn had resigned. 

The minutes also revealed that as of that date, the board were still awaiting a final figure regarding the cost of the development and that BAM, the construction company on the project and the HSE are still working off estimations. 

Indications from Mr Varadkar were vague about how much the further cost increases are likely to be and he stated “the individual details are commercially sensitive”. As pressure mounts, other political parties are calling for more transparency in regards to these potential cost overruns as it is a burden on the taxpayer who have the right to know where their money is going. 

In October, Fianna Fail leader Michael Martin questioned the project’s cost overruns in the Dail and the Taoiseach responded via a letter which said: “The main contractor [BAM] has submitted claims to the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) which it alleges are outside of the agreed scope. The individual details of these claims are commercially sensitive interactions between the contractor and the NPHDB and cannot be discussed or released at this time.”

This development has been ongoing for over a decade. Physical construction started in 2017 and is due to be completed in 2020 in time for a 2021 opening. However, there are now  questions surrounding how realistic this timeline actually is. 

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