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File photo of construction work at the St James's site. Leah Farrell
St James's

BAM offers to pull out of National Children's Hospital contract if the board wants

The company also said it did not benefit inappropriately from the tender process.

BAM, THE CONSTRUCTION company building the National Children’s Hospital, said in a statement today that if the hospital board wants to opt out of the contract, then BAM will cooperate with this.

It also said in its statement that it did not benefit inappropriately from the tender process for the hospital. The government’s plans for the hospital have come under close scrutiny in recent weeks after it emerged that the projected cost for the project had risen to €1.7 billion.

In today’s statement, BAM said: “In recent weeks there have been many adverse comments in relation to the New Children’s Hospital. BAM wishes to confirm that it did not benefit inappropriately from the tender process and much of the commentary is based on incomplete and inaccurate information. BAM will fully engage with PwC to ensure all relevant facts are disclosed.”

The Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee heard this month that the total cost of the project is “highly unlikely” to come in under €2 billion. A figure of €983 million for the development was approved by government in 2017.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar faced questions in the Dáil this week about the cost overruns. He said that government is speeding up the reforms of the public procurement process. 

Speaking in the Dáil, the Taoiseach spoke about the issue of low price tenders in relation to future government contracts. He said: “We do have a real concern that some companies are low balling, coming in with very low tender prices to get the contract, then coming back with claims thereafter.”

The Taoiseach did not mention any particular company in his comments.

BAM said today that in response to the Taoiseach’s comments in the Dáil on Tuesday, it has written to Varadkar directly “to respectfully request him to clarify that he was not referring to BAM in the Dáil and that BAM has made and continues to make a significant contribution to Ireland, including in the context of the New Children’s Hospital, where BAM is in full compliance with all its obligations”.

It continued: “BAM will continue its commitment to the New Children’s Hospital and the confidence of all parties involved is a vital requirement for the company.”

“BAM wishes to advise the hospital board that if it would prefer to opt out of this contract and procure the work in some other way, then BAM will cooperate with them to facilitate this option,” said Theo Cullinane, CEO BAM Ireland and member of the Management Board of Royal BAM Group.

Earlier this month, the Taoiseach said that the Department of Health has retained PWC, the expert accountancy and consultancy firm, to carry out an analysis of the situation.

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