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Top engineer on National Children's Hospital project resigns

John Pollock is the second senior figure to leave the project in as many months.

John Pollock will step down from his role in June.
John Pollock will step down from his role in June.
Image: Mark Stedman/Rollingnews.ie

THE PROJECT DIRECTOR for the National Children’s Hospital has resigned from his role – after over five years in the job.

Engineer John Pollock said he was “very proud” to have assumed the role on the board of the project in 2013 but felt it was an “opportune point” for him to move on. However, Pollock has said he will remain in the role until June. 

Pollock is among the officials who have faced fierce questioning from politicians in Oireachtas Committees over the cost overrun at the National Children’s Hospital.

A figure of €983 million for the development was approved by government in 2017, but it has emerged in recent months that this has risen by €500 million in the space of a year.

The eventual cost of the hospital could even exceed that €1.4 billion figure, and a report commissioned by the government into the overrun – that is due next week – has been given the remit of identifying what caused the budget to spiral in such a way. 

Pollock’s departure follows that of former chairperson of the board of the National Children’s Hospital Tom Costello, who left the post last month.

1 Pollock_90562815 Pollock answering questions before the Oireachtas Joint Health Committee Source: Oireachtas

In a statement announcing his resignation, Pollock outlined the progress and achievements on the project, saying: “The construction of the new children’s hospital will be completed in 2022 and it will open its doors to staff, patients and children in 2023.

All these milestones achieved over the last five years have been hugely satisfying and I am very proud of what has been achieved… The vision to build a new children’s hospital in Ireland has been planned for decades but has become a reality since the current Board’s appointment in 2013.

Reacting to Pollock’s resignation, interim chairperson Fred Barry said the board was disappointed but respect the decision. 

“We are grateful to John for committing to staying until June 2019, this will ensure a smooth transition as we move to a new phase of this important infrastructural project and as the process commences to recruit a new project lead,” Barry said.

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Sean Murray

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