Harney silent on shock exit of hospital boss
MINISTER for Health Mary Harney has failed to explain the surprise resignation of the chairman of the board overseeing the planning of a new national children's hospital.
Philip Lynch resigned after expressing concerns about a €200m gap in funding of the project last week.
The minister has suggested the shortfall may be filled by philanthropic sources.
"People were discussing very generous donations two or three years ago. I believe those commitments still stand," she said.
"We remain optimistic and determined to ensure that that hospital is built by 2014," Ms Harney said yesterday.
The cost of the project is estimated at €650m, but the Government has only promised €450m. Ms Harney refused to say whether she had asked Mr Lynch, chief executive of investment company One51, to resign over the controversy
"I'm not going to comment on that. As I said, all I want say today is that I want to see that hospital built as quickly as possible so that very sick children can have access to the best possible hospital that this country can provide," she said.
"And I don't think at this stage it's not helpful to be speculating or to be commenting."
The development board, which is now chaired by businessman John Gallagher, will meet today to outline the work that has been done so far on planning and alleviate public anxiety. Ms Harney insisted that she believed the hospital would be built on schedule.
"My only responsibility is to see that children's hospital built as quickly as possible," Ms Harney insisted.
"What the parents of sick children say to me is 'get on with it, make it happen'."
The new plan would see all three existing children's hospitals -- on Temple Street, Crumlin, and Tallaght -- merged into the new National Children's Hospital at the Mater site.
The hospital's development board is to meet An Bord Pleanala to discuss their plans.