THE TAOISEACH HAS denied that the government or any minister has commissioned a new report to assess the suitability of potential sites for the National Children’s Hospital.
At Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil today, Enda Kenny reiterated that it was the government’s intention to make a decision on a site for the hospital within the next two weeks and denied reports that the government was seeking further assistance in making this decision.
RTÉ had reported this morning that former Dublin City manger John Fitzgerald had been approached to assess the suitability of potential sites but the Department of Health denied this and RTÉ later amended its story.
Fitzgerald could not be reached for comment but speaking in the Dáil following questions from Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin about the reports, Kenny said that he had “no interest in the speculation or the rumour or the innuendo that goes in the general mix of things”.
He said that neither the government nor any minister commissioned any report into possible locations and said that this process had already been undertaken by Frank Dolphin whose report has been sent to the Minister for Health.
“This is one of the major projects of this government’s terms of office,” Kenny said in relation to the hospital, later adding: “There is no other independent report or reports commissioned by government or ministers in this regard.”
There followed a series of heated exchanges as Martin accused the Taoiseach of not answering the question directly about whether any “independent person” had been asked to assess locations.
“Why is there an inability to tell the truth to the house?” Martin asked before being met with howls of derision from the government benches.
“Sometimes when you keep interrupting you blnd yourself to the truth,” Kenny later responded saying that there was “only one process here… and it will be more independent then the one that went before” referring to the previous administration’s choice of a site at the Mater hospital, a site rejected by An Bord Pleanála.
The Taoiseach later said that the Dolphin report would be published as soon as the government had made the decision which he said would be within the next two weeks.