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Construction set to resume at NCH after Martin says stoppage 'unacceptable'

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Work at the National Children’s Hospital will resume

Work at the National Children’s Hospital will resume

Work at the National Children’s Hospital will resume

The developer building the National Children's Hospital has confirmed it will resume work on the site on Monday.

BAM confirmed in a statement last night it intends to resume works on the site of the €1.7bn hospital project following "robust" communication with the hospital's development board.

A BAM spokesman said: "BAM has confirmed to the hospital board that it intends to resume works on site from Monday next.

Safety

"It does this in good faith, following robust communication with the board and in the interest of completing the project as quickly and economically as possible."

It said work will recommence with the safety of all stakeholders as the top priority and with full implementation of the Government's mandatory Covid-19 restrictions.

"We look forward to a successful resumption and getting this vital project moving, notwithstanding all of the challenges that are not of our making".

It comes after Taoiseach Micheal Martin expressed his anger over the stalling of work on the new NCH. Mr Martin demanded that builders be returned to the site, after work on the NCH paused.

He branded the situation as "unacceptable" and said: "I'm angry about this and I think they should get back on the site."

Mr Martin added he's "fed up of claim and counterclaim", and said: "The children of Ireland deserve better than this."

A massive dispute arose over who should pay for the extra costs of reopening the site after the coronavirus lock-down, as well as the cost of new safety measures needed due to the pandemic.

BAM, had said it was "anxious" to get back on site but claimed it has been excluded from payments the State has been making to builders on other public sites.

The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) had told BAM it expects workers back on site without further delay and for the costs issue to be resolved through the agreed dispute management process while work on site continues.

RTE reported last night the NPHDB was preparing to take legal action if work doesn't resume by next week.

It's understood BAM resumed work on other projects, including the Children's Hospital satellite site at Tallaght.

In an earlier statement the company insisted BAM and its subcontractors were "most anxious" to proceed with the "vital works" on the main NCH at the St James's Hospital site "as expeditiously and economically as possible within the new mandatory Covid-19 requirements".

It said: "The consequences of these public health restrictions are significant delays which will continue until there is a vaccine widely available, as well as additional costs on a once-off and ongoing basis."

BAM said the Government has recognised this by confirming it will make ex-gratia payments to contractors on public works contracts elsewhere.