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Kids hospital cost: 'Red flags' missed; Inquiry warns of flaws in budget over [euro]1.7bn site.

Byline: CATE MCCURRY

A REPORT into the cost overruns at the new National Children's Hospital yesterday criticised its board for missing "red flags".

An independent inquiry by PWC, which was set up to assess the spiralling costs, found significant failures happened during the crucial planning and budgeting stages of the project.

It further warned the cost of the new Dublin facility could rise above [euro]1.7billion.

The hospital, being constructed on a 12-acre site at the St James's campus, has been marred in controversy over spiralling costs for a number of months. The report stated: "The basis of the original budget was flawed and risks were understated in the business case.

"There was a lack of sufficiently comprehensive or robust planning for the process to establish a Guaranteed Maximum Price for the construction of the New Children's Hospital.This created situation in which the approved project could never be delivered within the financial parameters agreed.

Our now be to "As a consequence the budget significantly underestimated the likely outturn cost. Furthermore, red flags indicating the inadequacy of the budget were missed."

One of its many recommendations is to overhaul the project control environment to bring it up the level of "maturity and sophistication" needed for a project of this scale and complexity.

n priority must It has advised to develop comprehensive plans to mitigate further risks, adding if it is not effectively managed, it could lead to further cost rises.

finish time and from The Taoiseach yesterday said the report made for "grim reading".

He added: "It finds the escalating costs related largely to an underestimation of the cost of building it in the first place, as well as the cost of delays, higher building standards and the knock-on effect of VAT.

"It does not recommend retendering as a feasible option and suggests there is little scope for savings.

"Our priority now must be to finish the job on time to meet the 2023 opening date, contain further cost increases and learn from mistakes made in advance of other major projects like Metro and the National Broadband Plan."

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said the reports shows the process has been a "shambles from start till finish".

She added: "It shows a government that is totally out of touch, who are more interested in cutting ribbons than with responsibly managing taxpayers' money.

"The report demonstrates the inability of this government, and this Minister for Health in particular, to deliver vital projects on behalf of the public."

irish@mgn.co.uk

"Our priority now must be to finish on time and learn from mistakes LEO VARADKAR TAOISEACH YESTERDAY

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 10, 2019
Words:445
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