NCHA’scomment 21Dec 2018
On 3rd February 2017 BAM announced it had been awarded the contract to build the Children’s Hospital though this was neither confirmed nor denied by the Government at the time (in fact in the days that followed Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe is on record as saying the project was still to be approved and a business case had yet to be presented to Cabinet).
On the 13th February 2017 Connolly4Kids Hospital( C4KH) sent a letter(link above) to the Government ministers (and the AG) calling for specific issues to be addressed. This letter went unanswered and the project was formally approved / endorsed by the Minister for Health on the 25th April 2017. The C4KH letter called for a response in advance of the contract decision being made. This too was ignored. The picture this interaction paints is one of a closed shop where the decision making process is not in fact a process but a done deal. Ministers collectively failed in their duty to engage with the allegations in that letter. That is not to say they had to agree with the points made therein, but surely there was an obligation to acknowledge the points and at the very least state why nothing in the letter changed their position. In the absence of any acknowledgment or confirmation whether the issues raised materially impacted the awarding of the Children’s Hospital to St James’s, we cannot see transparency or accountability within the decision making process. That is a key failing on the part of the Cabinet for which the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar and the Minister for Health hold greatest responsibility to the people of Ireland.