Europe

Irish cabinet to make €100m in savings

Paschal Donohoe
Image caption Paschal Donohoe is the finance minister in the Republic of Ireland

The taoiseach (Irish prime minister) has said the cabinet in the Republic of Ireland has agreed €100m in savings to meet cost overruns at a hospital.

The largest single saving comes from the delays to the construction of the A5 Dublin to Londonderry road, totalling €27m.

However, the finance minister Paschal Donohoe said he is "fully committed to the project".

Some €10m will also come from delayed payments for forensic science building.

€10m will also be saved to build a school at the National Children's Hospital.

'Committed'

Deferrals of projects in the Department of Health will total €24m.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said: "In meeting these funding pressures we have examined all our projects and programmes across government.

"Where projects are, due to external issues, paused such as in the case of A5 motorway in Northern Ireland, we moved those currently unused funds to where they are needed now.

"Where the timing of draw-down of payments could be updated without jeopardising the pace of project planning, design and delivery, we have made adjustments to ensure that the much-needed National Children's Hospital will be delivered," said Mr Donohoe.

Mr Donohoe said the A5 project "at the very earliest is now not due to begin until the end of this year".

"We are fully committed to the project. We will play our part in funding it. It's just due to happen an awful lot later than anyone anticipated."

Image caption Northern Ireland's Department for Infrastructure says they have no concerns

A spokesperson for the Department of Public Expenditure in the Republic of Ireland has said €27m will be reallocated to the A5 project.

The Department of Transport said: "Not a single transport project has been affected due to the over-run costs for the Dublin Children's Hospital.

"In particular, contrary to reports, the A5 has not been delayed due to these costs.

"There will not be a single cent cut off the Department of Transport's capital spend on the A5.

"An unavoidable postponement in the development of the A5, due to legal challenges on the Northern side, means the department will save €27m in our budget this year."

'No concerns'

The Department of Transport added that "it is now understood that late 2019 is the earliest that construction could start".

"In the event of a further legal challenge, it could be early 2020 before construction could start. This is merely a timing adjustment."

A spokesperson for Northern Ireland's Department for Infrastructure said: "We have no concerns at this stage about Ireland's contribution to the construction costs being made available when work is ready to commence."

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