Offaly politician fears children's hospital overspend will hit rural services hard

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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Offaly politician says rural Ireland should 'pay the price' for children's hospital overspend

Renua leader and Offaly County Councillor John Leahy

RENUA Ireland leader and Offaly county councillor, John Leahy, has warned that "the children's hospital debacle should not be used as an excuse to shut down investment in rural health care services."

Commenting on the ongoing €453 million over-run on the children's hospital, located at the site of St. James's Hospital in Dublin, Mr Leahy said, "heads should roll over this debacle."

"Instead, it is far more likely that rural hospitals will pay the price for the reckless and wastefulness of Dublin centred policymakers," John said.

"Our National Children's Hospital should be a showcase of all our talents. Instead, it has turned into a white elephant and the national embodiment of our new 'more for less' culture."

"Health Minister Simon Harris should convene a swift inquiry to explain and justify the €453 million over-run. The taxpayer deserves to know who is responsible and what are the consequences."

"This should include an inquiry into consultant’s fees and an explanation for the inaccessible nature of this site," Leahy said.

"Many Dublin people, let alone rural visitors, note it would be easier to drive a sick child to Belfast than the proposed location of the children's hospital."

"Mr Harris should also analyse the cost benefits of divesting certain hospital functions to a greenfield rural site," he added.

"At this point, money has to be found somewhere to complete the project but watch this space; rural Ireland health services will suffer on the back of urban policymakers building the most expensive hospital in the world," Leahy claimed.