Farrell welcomes decision to examine spending on new National Maternity Hospital project

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Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell TD has welcomed news that spending on the new National Maternity Hospital project will now be examined as part of a forthcoming audit.

Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy said that the project will be examined, with a special report carried out if necessary.

Welcoming the development, Deputy Farrell said that the announcement was ‘timely and necessary’.

“Many people are beginning to fear that the new National Maternity Hospital has all the makings of another National Children’s Hospital fiasco,” said Deputy Farrell, “where our government tell us how they are going to get great value for money for a project we badly need, then proceed to write a blank check which leaves tax payers on the hook for beserk sums of money, all the while telling us how ‘prudent fiscal management’ is their motivating factor.

“It would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious. I recently asked Minister Donnelly to explain how the projected cost of the NMH had risen from €150 million to €800 million. He couldn’t answer.”

Deputy Farrell said that she asked in very simple terms could he explain the variance to budget by expense category.

“I queried in accounting terms could he outline those areas where costs have increased drastically,” she said.

“Had salaries, wages and compensation levels increased? Were borrowing costs rising? Was there some unforeseen professional/consultancy fees incurred? But no answer could be given.”

Deputy Farrell called on Minister McGrath to outline what is going on with the NMH when the Dáil returns.